East Midlands Ambulance Service has released details of two separate cases of individuals who seriously abused the 999 system following two successful prosecutions in Court.
One of the frequent abusers of the 999 system who rang for an ambulance 344 times in six months appeared in court last week.
Thomas Exhall, from Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, made the calls to 999 and 111 between 1 December 2017 and 29 April 2018 and his actions cost the NHS a total of £24,883.
Exhall was usually intoxicated when he rang, and often verbally abused East Midlands Ambulance Service 999 call handlers and ambulance crews who attended him.
If he was taken to hospital he would often discharge himself before being seen, and then he would go
Exhall appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Monday 14 January where he denied both making the calls and his abusive behaviour.
Magistrates found Exhall guilty and he was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £400 in compensation to EMAS.
However, many people will no-doubt feel that Exhall should have spent some time in jail for his blatant abuse of the emergency services.
Another frequent caller, Victoria Cross, was prosecuted last week for making more than 200 fake calls in just over two weeks.
She appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
Cross, from Moira, near Swadlincote, made the calls between Christmas and New Year and freely admitted in calls that she was ringing because she was “bored and didn’t care about anyone else”.
When she realised her number had been blocked by the emergency services, she bought different sim cards for her mobile phone so that she could continue to make the hoax 999 calls.
One of Cross’s false calls led to a one minute eight second delay for a child in cardiac arrest.
During a cardiac arrest, every second counts. The chances of survival drop by about 10% with every single minute that passes.
Cross was ordered to pay £165 in fines and she was given a conditional discharge for 18 months.
The fact that one of Cross’s hoax costs led to the delay in emergency help being deployed for a child who was in a cardiac arrest will anger many people.
People have commented on social media that Cross should have spent a considerable amount of time in prison owing to her blatant and intentional abuse of the 999 system.
In both cases, East Midlands Ambulance Services’ Frequent Caller Team worked closely with police and other professionals in an attempt to support these
Deborah Powell, Frequent Caller Lead for EMAS, said:
“We are pleased that we have had two successful prosecutions after a lot of hard work.
“We would urge people again to make the right 999 call and only phone us in a life-threatening emergency.
“Our staff come to work to save lives and help people, not to be abused.
“We will continue to work with police to prosecute those who misuse our service to ensure that the support is there for those who need it in a real medical emergency.”
A spokesperson for East Midlands Ambulance Service said:
‘We are incredibly proud of how calm and professional our 999 call handlers are’
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