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Scourge of abusive calls to 999 on rise

It is long understood that individuals whom lash out are often under stress and its their way of self protection. However, there is a thin line between being panicky and freaking out to being down right abusive.

David Lumb, brings some insight to this in his article for the BBC, which clearly shows a disturbing number of threats and intimidation towards Ambulance Call Handlers. 

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Emergency call handlers must be treated with respect and civility as they perform their vital role protecting and supporting members of the public in difficulty.

“The police have powers under the Communications Act 2003 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 that they can use to investigate and charge those who harass call handlers over the phone when reports of this despicable behaviour are made.”

The level of abusive calls places additional pressure on call handlers and response times, which as reported by the Mail On Line* leading to an increasing number of abandoned calls. The Mail quotes Richard Webber, of the College of Paramedics, as saying, “callers were left waiting, with some ringing 999 back again and again trying to secure an ambulance. This was driving up the number of 999 calls, he explained. Abandoned calls are defined by NHS England as those abandoned after ringing for at least five seconds. A spokesman said: ‘The ambulance service is facing significant pressures and it is no secret that demand for urgent and emergency care services is at an all–time high. More than nine million calls are now being handled by our ambulance services each year – up 6.1 per cent on the previous year and double the growth in A&E workload.

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