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Calls for probe into 999 calls after ambulance called 231 times to Stourbridge address in just one year

Dudley | News | Published:

A West Midlands MEP has called for an investigation into nuisance 999 calls after it emerged paramedics were called to one property more than 200 times in 12 months.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to an address in Stourbridge 231 times for 'falls', according to details revealed through a Freedom of Information request.

The service revealed its paramedics and ambulance crews were called out 5,000 times to just the same 30 addresses in the region.

Another property in Birmingham's Shard End area was visited on 653 occasions - with only 11 of the call-outs resulting in anyone being taken to hospital.

Of the calls, more than 400 were described as being for 'someone feeling generally unwell'.

In one incident, the paramedics were forced to race to the address because the resident had a headache.

West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge, who is also a councillor in Dudley borough, urged authorities to look at the issue.

"Without knowing the personal circumstances of the caller it would be unfair to make a judgement but it seems to me either the person involved has a serious health condition in which case they have been let down by the authorities or they are a malicious prankster," he said.

"Either way there should be an investigation into the caller and either better care provided or criminal charges brought for wasting the emergency services time.

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"Our emergency services are over stretched as it is this kind of problem must not be tolerated or accepted as it could easily put lives at risk.

"Irresponsible prank callers are literally playing games with people's lives and should receive the most severe punishment the law allows. There is no excuse for this criminal stupidity."

Paramedics visited another property in Selly Oak on 260 occasions while one location in Oswestry sounded the alarm 105 times, with only four resulting in a trip to hospital.

Labour MP for Selly Oak, Steve McCabe is to call for tougher policies after figures, adding: "I wonder what the reporting and follow-up mechanism for this must be.

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"Surely they don't simply just record the calls without someone analysing the data and doing something about it.

"I'd day 12 calls within 12 months to a single address without good reason is far too many. There ought to be a reporting and monitoring system, and follow-up, whatever the case."

The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, do not reveal specific addresses due to data protection laws.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "The trust is aware of a number of high-volume service users who regularly call the ambulance service.

"Some people do suffer from complex health-related disorders that, at times, require emergency intervention on a regular basis.

"Although this may appear to be a 'misuse' of resources it is indeed entirely appropriate and embraces the ethos of delivery of high-quality patient care.

"West Midlands Ambulance Service works with the local health economy and social services to put in place care packages that are designed to find alternative solutions for these individuals.

"In many cases this approach has led to a significant reduction or, indeed, a complete stop in the need to dial 999."

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