999 hoaxer 'just wanted lift to a shopping mall'

A man who called 999 with fake chest pains because he wanted a lift to a shopping centre was among a number of non-emergency and hoax calls received by an ambulance service during one 24-hour period.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) staged a 24-hour tweetathon to highlight the importance of using the service appropriately.

Staff took 2,522 emergency calls from 9am on Thursday, with more than 240 of those being life-threatening and 10 being classed as hoaxes.

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Hoax calls made during the 24-hour period included one hoaxer calling all emergency services to a false incident in Sheffield and a child hoax caller reporting a patient not breathing in Sowerby Bridge.

Of the non-emergency calls made, one man rang to ask for a body scan "for no apparent reason", one patient reported a life-threatening emergency for a banged toe and a woman in Sheffield rang because she had toothache.

At 10.30pm on Thursday, the service tweeted: "At a job in Sheffield for a male with chest pains turns out he only wanted a lift to meadowhall & had no money #notataxiservice #YAS247"

And at 2.08am on Friday, another tweet read: "Attended an intoxicated male in Rotherham when we arrived he ran off shouting 'I'm Rupert the bear' #notrequired #happybankholiday #YAS247"

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Genuine emergency calls reported on the Twitter feed included road traffic collisions, a patient who had severed two fingers in a combine harvester, a casualty rescued from the water in Bridlington, a six-year-old boy who broke his arm after falling off monkey bars and a man who was knocked unconscious during a burglary in the Wetherby area.

Pauline Archibald, head of service central delivery at YAS, said: "We will always respond to people with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries that need time-critical medical assistance.

"However, not all the 999 calls we receive are an emergency.

"We hope people will see how busy we are and consider using other healthcare providers in the community for less serious illnesses or injuries."

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The service said it expected to to take around 7,500 999 calls over the bank holiday weekend.

On average, call handlers receive around 1,900 calls per day, with around 250 of those being life threatening.