Here’s some information for you if you are the type of person who calls for an emergency ambulance, especially on a very busy weekend night when we have important drunk calls to attend. If you think the call will just disappear because you decided you didn’t want to wait any longer and just want to go to bed instead – ignoring your ‘phone when it rings and forcing us to speak to your voicemail… then you are wrong.
An ambulance will still be sent to your door and will arrive at three, or four or five in the morning. The crew will knock on your door until you wake up and they will do their job, as required by you, the tax-paying patient with the broken fingernail.
Arguably, if your call wasn’t important enough for you to wait up for us to arrive, then I suggest it wasn’t important enough for a 999 call in the first place.
If it is an emergency then be there, ready and waiting for when the crew arrive. Answer your phone if we call you back to chat about delays or whatever is wrong with you… and feel free to ring us back and let us know that you no longer need us because you went to A&E by taxi in the end.
If you need a doctor and it’s late or it’s the weekend, you don’t need to call us because there are docs out there, contracted to deal with you at all hours, every single day. They are called Out of Hours doctors and to get to them, all you have to do is ring up your local GP and the answerphone message will tell you that they are closed (surprise) and that the Out of Hours Service can be contacted on… and Bingo, there’s your number. Call them and tell them what’s wrong with you unless you truly believe your condition is potentially life-threatening… then you should dial 999.
If everyone in London stuck to these simple rules, we’d have much less trouble and fewer delays when sending emergency ambulances to those who really need us – like the elderly who fall and need help getting up or need their wounds dressed. When you inundate your ambulance service with trivial nonsense and make demands and exercise your ‘rights’, someone’s mum or grandfather has to lie on a cold floor for hours (and I mean hours) until we can free up a crew to go and help them. If it was your mother, you’d be furious, wouldn’t you?
Of course, you could (and probably will) ignore this advice because you believe it is your God-given right to call an ambulance when you have vomited or have a slight temperature… or have just smoked cannabis and ‘feel a bit funny’. In that case, this post becomes no more than an oblivious instruction to your brain.
And I know that most, if not all of the people who read this blog already know this stuff and never abuse their emergency service. I’m aiming it at those for whom this will be leaked out and spread around. Maybe it’ll make a dent.