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5,300 emergency calls made by same 10 people in the West Midlands

By Richard Guttridge | Tipton | Health | Published:

The same 10 West Midland people called 999 more than 5,300 times in 12 months, new figures have shown.

Thousands of ambulances have been sent out to a handful of patients

A total of 5,302 emergency calls were made by the 10 most frequent callers to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The data was released following a Freedom of Information request and showed how pressure was being piled on the ambulance service by a handful of patients.

The highest number of calls by a single patient to the region's ambulance service was a staggering 841.

Frequent callers are classed as those who call at least five times in a month, or at least 12 times in three months, and according to official figures cost the health service almost £19 million a year.

A member of the public based in Stourbridge called 999 841 times in 12 months for 387 incidents and on only 34 occasions an ambulance took them to hospital.

Next were two cases in Birmingham both calling 804 and 709 respectively. There were another two patients in Birmingham who made 373 and 340 calls respectively.

A person in Walsall called 663 times for 532 incidents and was taken to hospital 21 times, the figures showed, while another caller in Tipton called the emergency services 389 times for 369 incidents and went to hospital 26 times.

A caller in Oldbury called 347 times for 165 incidents and was taken to hospital four times, while a person in Stratford upon Avon called 371 times and was taken to hospital just once.

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Jon Page, from the Liberal Democrats, who released the data, insisted it was not the fault of the individuals ringing for help but rather a failure of the system to help support these people.

He said: "It's not meeting the needs of that individual, which is why they are repeatedly calling.

"We need to look at action plans for these patients to deal with their complex needs.

"Because the impact of this is not just the financial cost, it is the effective removal of ambulances for people who really need them too, that is the greatest concern."

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A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Having such a high number of calls from a small number of patients is clearly an issue.

"However, the majority of these come from patients who have either very complex mental health and/or social care needs.

“The trust works with the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group, the patients' GP and the local authority, who are the lead agencies on this area of work, and together we try to work out why the individual feels the need to dial 999."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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