News : Pranksters Prey on Hotline
April 16, 2014 -- About half of the calls made to the Public Health Ministry's emergency medical service hotline were found to be prank calls, the ministry said yesterday.
This might cause people who are facing a genuine emergency to miss out on chances of receiving help, warned Dr Narong Sahamethapat, permanent secretary for public health.
He was speaking after learning that about half of the calls made to the 1669 hotline in Ayutthaya and Nakhon Sawan were from teens who might think it was fun to call the number and trick the receivers.
He paid a visit to the two provinces yesterday to follow up on the emergency medical service in the provinces.
The prank calls received ranged from pretending to order pizza to verbally harassing female staff who answered the phone, Dr Narong said.
Some calls were alerts about incidents that hadn't actually occurred, he said.
As the hotline number is intended for calls from people really needing medical assistance, every second counts in such life-or-death situations, he said. Only between five and 10 lines are available at the ministry's hospitals.
Parents should pay more attention to their teenage children who might think calling the hotline number to trick staff was fun, Dr Narong said.
Calls to the hotline increased by 70% this year, indicating improvements in public awareness of the ministry's emergency medical service, he said.
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Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014