The 'wholly inappropriate' 999 calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service amid soaring pressures

The calls come amid recent soaring pressures on ambulance workers across Wales.

Examples of "wholly inappropriate" 999 calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service in the last year have been revealed.

One of the calls was from someone who had lost their house keys and when told it was not an emergency, they repeatedly swore at a call handler.

It comes after a surge in demand and pressures within the ambulance service over the winter months.

Of the 448,994 incidents recorded by the service last year, almost a fifth were non-urgent.

The ambulance service has released transcripts of some of the calls:

  • Operator: Ambulance service, what’s the full address of the emergency?Caller: Hi, I’m sorry, I don’t know who else to call. My keys have gone. Basically, I’ve gone out and someone’s took my keys or something. I can’t find my keys. I just want to get in.Operator: Do you require an ambulance?Caller: I just want someone to open my door please.Operator: Unfortunately, we don’t help with getting keys to open your door. We’re unable to send you an ambulance.

Another call was from someone who had hair dye in their eyes:

  • Caller: Tell me exactly what’s happened there.Operator: I got hair dye in my eye around 7 o’clock. I phoned the advice line, they got back to me around 8. They told me to rinse my eye out again, so I did that again, and it still hurts.Caller: So it’s hair dye in your eye?

Chief Exective Jason Killens said paramedics are not "locksmiths".

It has prompted the Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, Jason Killens, to speak out.

He said ambulance service workers are there to "help people who are seriously ill or injured, or where there is an immediate threat to their life."

Mr Killens said paramedics and technicians are highly educated professionals and they are not "locksmiths".

Ambulance response times for the most serious and immediately life-threatening calls in Wales recently hit a record low.

In recent weeks, figures released highlighted the true extent of pressures within the service.

Just 39.5% of red calls were responded to within the target time of eight minutes in December - a drop of 8.5% since November. The target is 65%.

The Welsh Ambulance Service received 5,949 red calls in December - the highest number ever made in a single month.

Ambulance bosses are reminding people to respect paramedics and call handlers due to recent abuse.

Director of Paramedicine Andy Swinburn said: “If your loved one is ill or injured, ask yourself whether you really need the attention of the emergency services or if you can use the available alternatives or make your own way to hospital in the car, or by taxi."

The Trust is also reminding the public to treat emergency workers with respect.“Some of the language we hear from callers is frankly abhorrent. Emergency workers are normal human beings just trying to do a job.“They’re there to help you, so give them the credit and respect they deserve.”