NSW Ambulance and NSW Police have joined forces in appealing for the public to Save Triple Zero (000) for Saving Lives.
Both agencies receive thousands of calls each week at a time when emergency services have never been busier and the campaign is aimed at educating the public on other services they can use - such as their GP, pharmacist or Healthdirect - instead of tying up critical resources.
In the 12 months to the end of March this year, our paramedics responded to more than 200,000 jobs where there was no patient taken to hospital due to a range of reasons such as the original call being a hoax to the patient refusing to be transported to hospital.
There were a concerning number of calls for trivial matters that clearly didn't require the services of a paramedic or transport to hospital. There were 1,036 calls from people complaining about constipation, 662 for a toothache, 215 for earaches, 167 for boils, 157 from people who couldn’t sleep and 16 for hiccups.
All the major television networks, together with Sydney and regional newspapers and radio, ran with the story, utilising real-life calls that were provided to them to highlight the types of jobs that should have been directed elsewhere.
The calls that were played on television and radio included a patient complaining of sunburnt shoulders after forgetting to apply sunscreen, another for a toothache but no other pressing conditions and a third from a man with an itchy back. Assistant Commissioner Steven Norris, Director Control Centres, joined NSW Police Communications and Security Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Rashelle Conroy, on urging the public to help save Triple Zero for emergencies.
“If you are having a medical emergency we will always respond to you but too often our paramedics are responding to calls that we simply don’t need to attend,” Mr Norris said.
“We want the public to think before calling us for trivial matters.
“If it isn’t a medical emergency, please consider other health services such as your GP, a pharmacist or a registered nurse at Healthdirect which is available 24 hours a day.”