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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?

GruffaloAteMySocks Thu 11-Apr-13 15:46:55

She walked in and didn't get the ambulance, so how was it wasted? YABU.

LadyVoldemort Thu 11-Apr-13 15:49:02

But an ambulance didn't get sent to her though so Yabu.

Although I do think something should be put in place for time wasters .

angelos02 Thu 11-Apr-13 15:52:58

If she was well enough to walk, why on earth would she need an ambulance? Am I missing something about the use of ambulance?

Pancakeflipper Thu 11-Apr-13 15:54:39

I thought they once introduced that?

About 15yrs ago I had an accident and in my hazy freaked out state was telling the ambulance team to go away as I didn't want invoicing for a wasted call. They informed me I wasn't wasting their time that I was an emergency. I havent heard of it in recent years though and how would they enforce payment?

StuntGirl Thu 11-Apr-13 15:54:40

Yup I think time wasters should be charged/fined. It's a vital service which does NOT have infinite resources. Some people are entitled cunts.

However, putting in such a system would probably cost more money, so its a bit catch 22.

GruffaloAteMySocks Thu 11-Apr-13 15:57:29

A lot of older people don't phone ambulances when they need them because they're afraid of wasting their time, I think knowing they could also be charged would only make it worse. So I'm really unsure about charging people.

Softlysoftly Thu 11-Apr-13 15:59:10

She refused the taxi insinsted she wanted an ambo but then walked in without notifying them so her call for 1 would still be active in the q. I have no idea if they sent it or the receptionist managed to then cancel it.

She shouldn't have called one in the first place!

Softlysoftly Thu 11-Apr-13 15:59:59

Gruffalo that would be my only concern.

Pancakeflipper Thu 11-Apr-13 16:04:27

Good point Gruffalo, you are obviously not all warts and purple prickles but also smart.

sydlexic Thu 11-Apr-13 16:07:23

I have known of people being charged.

Often when the elderly have appointments the hospital sends an ambulance to collect them, it goes around picking up several people on the way. I do think this ambulance being used like a taxi confuses the old folk as to the idea of an ambulance being for emergency only.

Airwalk79 Thu 11-Apr-13 16:11:54

My dh is a paramedic, you would not believe some of the jobs he gets sent on.

People who ring in saying chest pain, knowing that will get them there quick, " no mate,just said that then they didn't make me wait. its me leg, been hurting a while what do you rekon it is, "

He got asked to change a lightbulb, as apparently if the guy did it himself he might fall then he would need the ambulance wouldent he?

The crews used to be Abel to tell them to go to their docs or take themselves to a an e etc, not there's that much trouble caused if you so much and raise a eyebrow that they have to pussyfoot around theose idiots!

Often dh comes in from a 12 hour shift that's turned into 14, and says that he hasn't been back for a brew or a wee all day. And he wouldent mind that, but he will also not have been to even one genuine patient!

Airwalk79 Thu 11-Apr-13 16:12:41

Sorry for the rant, can you tell it's a touchy subject!

GruffaloAteMySocks Thu 11-Apr-13 16:15:27

Cheers Pancake. grin

My DM works/worked in various hospitals and care homes with elderly people and seen a lot of people admitted because they've refused to go in for treatment when a problem was small.

She once looked after an elderly woman who'd spent several days walking around with a prolapsed bowel because she didn't want to worry anyone. sad

soverylucky Thu 11-Apr-13 16:16:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clam Thu 11-Apr-13 16:18:03

We called an ambulance for me when I fell down the stairs recently, although we hummed and haahed a bit first, in case the leg (subsequently found to be broken in 3 places and requiring surgery and a week's stay in hospital) stopped hurting a bit and I could hop to the car.
The paramedics couldn't believe we'd even hesitated and said they've been called on to find the TV remote control for people before now! I can only imagine (or hope?) that those sorts of cases are perhaps people with mental health issues and not just people being bastards stupid.

WestieMamma Thu 11-Apr-13 16:44:24

Reminds me of my elderly dad Gruffalo. He went to the dr's because he'd had indigestion all day and he couldn't take it anymore. The dr said he was in fact having a heart attack. My dad told him not to ring for an ambulance as he had the car outside and could drive himself, rather than bothering the ambulance people who had proper emergencies to deal with hmm.

ChunkyPickle Thu 11-Apr-13 16:57:33

We got sent to hospital in an ambulance from the GPs because what I thought was a bad cold was a nasty chest infection (in my DS) - Hospital was a 20 minute drive away, my car was in the carpark, but they insisted.

I felt a bit of a fraud, and would never have called one myself, but medical professionals disagreed - it reset my 'call an ambulance' and 'get to Casualty' meters quite a bit!

CloudsAndTrees Thu 11-Apr-13 17:32:59


People should definitely be charged for time wasting. I don't think there's any reason why it should put people off phoning if they are genuinely worried, if they are unsure they can always ring the NHS direct thing and get advice from them. People wouldn't be charged where they had real reason to worry, even if they didn't particularly need an ambulance. But they would be charged for lying over the phone and for asking for light bulbs to be changed.

StuntGirl Thu 11-Apr-13 18:19:47

Thing is, people don't get charged now and some people still don't call because they 'don't want to worry anyone'. Although I do agree that while I think in principle people should be charged for wasting time and resources that in practice it would be impossible to manage.

My uncle has mental health issues and frequently dials 999 for the most absurd reasons. The police officer told us they are obliged to attend every single call, even when it's obviously not an emergency. So it means when he calls demanding they go my elderly aunt with dementia and get £20 off her they have to attend just to check everyone's ok sad

And that's not even including the idiots airwalk mentioned!

maddening Thu 11-Apr-13 19:37:23

Surely they need to triage ambulances if they are misused - if you can't get an appointment at the gp without the receptionist deciding you are deserving then why don't they do this for ambulances?

youmaycallmeSSP Thu 11-Apr-13 19:52:45

I think the money used setting up a charge system would be put to better use on a public education program on when an ambulance should be called, when to go to A&E, when to ring NHS Direct, when to see the GP etc. The ambulances where I am have information like that on the side, something like unconscious, chest pains, or lots of blood = 999.

Catbiscuit Thu 11-Apr-13 19:54:35

I think a lot of people don't like to cause a bother, and a charge wouldn't help that.
When my eldest was a baby he was v unwell. He had a really high temp I couldn't get down and was fitting. I don't know why but I didn't even think to call an ambulance. I didn't want to cause a fuss. I ended up knocking on a neighbours door in tears to borrow money for a taxi. Ds ended up in hospital for several days.
I should really have called an ambulance I think. I have done twice since, it took that to think properly about when it is appropriate to use the service. I can see why older people might hesitate

mylittleponypinkypie Thu 11-Apr-13 19:59:30

I got told in some training once...
"If you see an incident and think "oh shit!" call 999"

EMUZ Thu 11-Apr-13 20:02:45

We do triage
But say someone rings up with a sore throat/weird feeling in their head/ear ache. You ask the question about pain "yeah yeah I've got some pain in my chest" ...
You see where this is going wink
I'm not saying much more but they are triaged, and people are referred to other services. Or say 111 tell them to make their own way to hospital because they need to be seen but they haven't got money for transport...
Doctors can also book ambulances for people to go in when they need to (not necessarily blue lighted)

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