to think they should charge for ways ambulance time?

(86 Posts)
Softlysoftly Thu 11-Apr-13 15:38:55

Or would it prevent genuinely in need people from calling them?

At OOH drs last night (dd2 is v poorly just discharged on tuesday). And the woman in the queue in front was bitching and whining that the ambulance she called on 999 hasn't turned up and after 50 minutes they called and said they were over busy and they would pay for her taxi instead hmm.

This wasn't good enough so she'd walked in instead but was pissed off she had to a) wait b) the receptionist had the gall to ask if she'd canceled the ambo (she hadnt apparently why fucking should she when they'd mucked her about) shock.

She was in and out the drs in a flash, seriously nothing wrong with her.

I think she should have been charged for the ambulance she wasted aibu?

EMUZ Thu 11-Apr-13 20:04:09

Personally I would love to see basic first aid compulsory in schools
V v simple stuff - cool water on a burn, pressure on bleeding, don't ram something in the mouth of someone fitting. And how to ring 999 as well

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 11-Apr-13 20:04:39

Its one of those weird ones.

I've had a situation where a guest in my house ( my ex) started clutching at his chest and throat gagging doing weird shit with his breath then passed out on the bathroom floor.

I phoned 999 in a panic explained what had happened they sent an ambulance but it turned out the fucked up twat was faking it in an attempt to manipulate me. And bugger all was wrong with him.

He looked and sounded convincing enough to a none HCP but given that it was me who called should I have been charged?

givemeaboost Thu 11-Apr-13 20:08:03

its a grayish area i think. I wouldnt call 999 for burns/broken bones etc as I would consider 999 for life-threatening things only, however I know many who do call for things such as broken bones, I think id be too embarrassed to!

Floggingmolly Thu 11-Apr-13 20:11:23

Who offered to pay for her taxi instead? Not the ambulance service, surely? shock

We do have a problem with people not calling 999 as well I agree. For eg, burns broken bones - severe ones might well need an ambulance, and being bundled into a car might further injure the person.

I know I have always avoided Ambulances even when offered by hcp, and that's daft really.

I called 999 when DS slipped and badly gashed his head. I was worried I was wasting ambulance time, but the paramedics reassured me that I wasn't, and gave me a choice of hospital (30 minute drive either East or West!) Had I had friends in the area with a car / my own car, it would have been easier to drive to hospital, as obviously ambulances don't do return trips, but I still needed the ambulance at the scene.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 11-Apr-13 20:23:51

I work on a hospital ward.

I got a direct phone call from some poor frustrated woman the other week who was in lots of pain with constipation. She'd rung 111 and they'd sent an ambulance out to her. Paramedics had come and obviously said she didn't need an ambulance so she rang the hospital for advice.

I guess I don't know what she told the 111 person but she sounded very sensible so I was a bit baffled that the operator had sent an ambulance to her.

I also frequently take phone calls from people asking me to ring an ambulance for them as they're in early labour....I'm not talking about the people who think the birth is imminent. Try telling them to get a lift, get a taxi, etc. they never have any friends who can bring them and never have money for a taxi.

MsBella Thu 11-Apr-13 20:29:39

YABU, not everyone KNOWS what is time wasting and what isn't...

quietbatperson Thu 11-Apr-13 20:52:37

Don't call an ambulance for broken bones? Jeez! Have you ever broken a limb? I was lucky to make it to a phone to call an ambulance and needed morphine and my pressure bringing back up before I was able to be put on a trolley. Over 5 years later and my leg still isn't right.

I do agree though that there is too much waste of emergency resources. A proper programme of education would be a good way of going about it.

Gorjuss Thu 11-Apr-13 20:59:07

After ringing NHS direct for advice re assault on dh they decided to send ambulance, which dropped us at a&e where we were left waiting over 4 hours without seeing anyone. So decided to get taxi home. Would never dreamed of ringing ambulance in first place.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 21:07:40

I think that fining people for wasting police time could deter callers who need medical help.

Sometimes ambulances are called by passers by when there is no serious injury. I was in a road accident where 2 ambulances with flashing lights turned up within 2 minutes of the accident happening. There was also two police cars and a mounted policeman at the scene. It was all a bit over the top as more than one person had dialed 999.

When I was 19 years old I was run over by a motor cyclist while riding a bike. I was very badly bruised and had a nastily sprained ankle. A paramedic checked me over to make sure I had no spinal injury before I got off the road. I was also taken to A and E to check for broken bones. I had got away with nothing but a sprain. The motor cyclist was completely uninjured.

Serenitysutton Thu 11-Apr-13 21:14:16

I don't really think its much of a solution- issuing a bill doesn't mean it will be paid, particularly I'd imagine by persistent offenders, vulnerable people, or people who just don't have the money-and then it just turns into another elxensive admin exercise to organise collection, raise billing, provide bad debt etc.

clam Thu 11-Apr-13 21:21:02

givemeaboost re: broken bones, there are degrees of break. As I said, we hesitated before ringing 999, as I felt it ought to be reserved for severed arteries and so on, but to be honest, we couldn't actually remember the non-emergency number. blush Dh started googling for it, at which point, as I was stuck halfway down the stairs unable to move a muscle without screaming in pain, I just yelled "ffs, dial 999!"
By the time the ambulance arrived (around 5 minutes!) I was passing out and needed an oxygen mask and gas and air before they could surround the leg with an inflatable cuff and lift me on to a stretcher.

So, yes, I did need an ambulance.

99problems Thu 11-Apr-13 21:38:22

This is so hard, my ds once stopped breathing for about 10 seconds, like he couldn't breathe - he had severe croupe - and even then I felt like I shouldn't ring an ambulance... Instead ran with him to car and drove him to hospital. I guess the point is many genuinely in need seem to be the people who wouldn't dream of calling one.

The one time I have rang an ambulance was after finding a man collapsed in the street, he was gasping 'epileptic'. Once paramedics turned up, they go "Oh hi Mark, good night tonight then? Get up, come on!" Up 'Mark' gets and climbs into ambulance, turns out he was the local piss head!

I watched a lotof '999 What's your emergency' though and it was so frustrating seeing all the drunks and time wasters, grr. I'm sure it said on that programme only 5% or so of population tend to use a&e? So it's typically the same people over and over.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 21:42:40

I think a lot depends on what bone is broken. There is a difference between a hairline facture in a broken finger and a broken neck. A badly broken leg is a good reason for 999 as there can be major internal bleeding which can kill.

As far as burns go, a lot depends on the severity. I think 999 is for when you need help on the scene. (ie. to assess a potential spinal injury, oxygen needed or the person needs help out of the house) A paramedic is not a taxi driver and the clue is in the name.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Apr-13 21:45:09

99problems you may have saved Mark's life as he probably needed stomach pumping in the short term and needs long term pychiartic help.

I feel that people like Mark should be forcibliy made to accept pychiatric help (assuming its available) if they are repeatly being picked in an ambulance for being drunk/ self harm.

KansasCityOctopus Thu 11-Apr-13 21:47:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Thu 11-Apr-13 22:01:57

Not ambulances, but on a related topic, I once knew a GP who did out of hours. He told me the most grateful patient he'd ever had was a little old lady who was fairly easily sorted, but who mentioned her TV was on the blink. The GP used to be a TV repairman, so said he'd take a look, and was able to fix it. She was overcome with emotion about how brilliant he was and couldn't thank him enough. Only problem after that was every time the TV broke down, she'd call out of hours!

RevoltingPeasant Thu 11-Apr-13 22:06:35

Lunatic sad thanks

Sorry, but I think it's really irresponsible to tell people not to call an ambulance for broken bones. If someone breaks a leg or an ankle badly, how are they meant to get themselves to A&E? And if a broken bone is jolted it can make things much worse. Can you imagine the pain of two ends of broken bone rubbing together as you try to take a taxi to A&E?

ShadowStorm Thu 11-Apr-13 22:08:38

I think the danger with charging for wasting ambulance time, is that some people who have really serious problems and really do need an ambulance, may be put off calling for one.

givemeaboost - whether an ambulance is appropriate for burns / broken bones depends entirely on the extent of the burn and on the location and severity of the break.

There's many cases where an ambulance is entirely right and appropriate for taking burns victims and people with broken bones to A&E. Burns and broken bones can be life-threatening if they're severe enough.

Springforward Thu 11-Apr-13 22:17:15

Years ago some passing kids knocked our door to ask if we knew that there was someone lying down in our front garden. A quick look with a torch revealed a woman dressed for a night out, face down on the lawn, without a coat in February. We couldn't rouse her, so called for an ambulance, and the operator stayed on the line for a bit while we attempted to put her in the recovery position and covered her with a blanket.

Just as the ambulance turned up, she woke, stood up, and suddenly it was obvious that she was utterly trollied. Bless them, the ambulance men followed her as she wobbled off down the road, but I did feel foolish. However, if she'd not have woken she'd probably have been at risk of hypothermia. Never have been quite sure whether we wasted the ambulance's time that night....

youmaycallmeSSP Thu 11-Apr-13 22:22:23

sad Lunatic.

I feel as though I should know when to call an ambulance but there have been at least three situations I can think of when I should have done but didn't. Two involving my own DC not breathing or responding normally blush All three situations turned out fine in the end but it just goes to show how people are afraid of wasting paramedics' time.

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 11-Apr-13 22:32:10

DD was blue lighted passed ou drunk age 13. sad
Of course we would have paid but the thought that her friends might have delayed calling because of a fee... sad

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 11-Apr-13 22:33:19

I reluctantly called one for my blue-tinged daughter who couldn't string a sentence together a few months ago and it took 50 minutes to get to us. When it did finally arrive it was an out-of-area ambulance and I had to direct them to the hospital. We don't have enough of the things in this region and the areas they are asked to cover are huge and mostly rural. People who waste the ambulance service's time want taking out and shooting.

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