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News : Barrage of Abuse Sees 999 Call Handler Sworn at 15 Times
Southend-on-Sea, England, Jan 19, 2016 -- A man who swore 15 times in four minutes at a 999 call handler has been highlighted as an example of verbal abuse suffered by ambulance staff.
The East of England Ambulance Service has released audio of a Corringham man, who had called about a genuine medical emergency.
But he directed a barrage of offensive language at the call handler whilst she tried to establish the exact location of the incident.
Gary Morgan, regional head of emergency operations centres, said: "People often call us in times of distress and deep despair, but that is no excuse for the kind of language we receive from some callers.
"It is very important that callers listen to the questions they are being asked and answer them clearly, so that we can help them as quickly as possible."
The service has also reminded people to treat 999 respectfully in a bid to prevent callers ringing up for inappropriate reasons.
Calls received from Essex in the last eight months have included a woman who found a critically-ill cat on her property and a woman who asked for help cleaning her toilet.
Mr Morgan said: "It is extremely disappointing that people continue to call 999 for inappropriate reasons.
"We’d urge them to think twice about calling the emergency ambulance service if it is not a life-threatening or serious medical emergency.
"We want to help people, and that’s what we’re here to do – but every call we get that isn’t a genuine problem for us is a call which takes away from someone who needs help fast."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From East of England Ambulance Service
About East of England Ambulance Service:
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the authority responsible for providing National Health Service (NHS) ambulance services in the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, in the East of England region. It is one of 12 Ambulance Trusts providing England with emergency medical services, and is part of the NHS, receiving direct government funding for its role. There is no charge to patients for use of the service, and under the Patient's Charter every person in the United Kingdom has the right to the attendance of an ambulance in an emergency.
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2016