By Kenan Beaumont
Pranks and unwarranted call outs are part of daily business for Perth paramedics and continue to divert crews from genuine emergencies.
St John Ambulance Network Coordinator Brendan Meikle estimates emergency services receive on average between two and four prank calls a day.
“A prank call will tie up a Triple-0 line for one to two minutes which then can obviously affect the ability to respond to the community in regards to answering them,” says Mr Meikle.
Prank calls are just one headache for paramedics in Perth.
The ambulance service is often called out to medical issues that don’t warrant a paramedic.
“Sometimes they might just be feeling a little bit hysterical,” says paramedic Jenni Glaskin.
“It’s common that we go to people who misunderstand what an emergency ambulance is for,” says Jenni.
“It definitely happens where crews get out there and people are just either wanting medication at the scene, which we don’t do, or they are just wanting a lift.”
“There are people out there that do misuse it, but it’s hard to prove because everyone deserves the right to an ambulance. Especially on a phone you wouldn’t know if it’s genuine or not,” says Mr Meikle.
The Department of Health website averages that 304 patients were admitted daily to hospitals via ambulances in the Perth metropolitan area over the last week.
“There’s always going to be some people that think they need to go to hospital, and they don’t, but we would never not go, to them it’s an emergency and when we speak to them about what the symptoms are and clarify things they sometimes come to realise that, others don’t but we can’t do anything about that, that’s the nature of the job,” says Jenni.