Triple Zero emergency line tied up with non-urgent calls
NSW Ambulance is asking 000 callers to consider whether their "urgency is an emergency".
The emergency call takers answer a call for help every 28 seconds on average, but only 10% of those are for life-threatening conditions.
NSW Ambulance executive director service delivery, David Dutton, said a substantial number of people calling the emergency line could be appropriately managed by other health providers.
"Paramedics attending non-medical emergencies could mean a patient with a life-threatening emergency may have to wait, potentially putting their life at risk," Mr Dutton said.
"A challenge facing NSW Ambulance is that paramedics are being tied up responding to people who could have their injury or illness better dealt with by utilising more appropriate health pathways."
NSW Ambulance is asking the public to use self care for matters such as a cough, sore throat or hangover, and visit a pharmacy or GP for matters such as diarrhoea, vomiting or infection.
The public can call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for more serious matters such as flu symptoms or if they are not sure if they need medical attention.
You should call 000 or visit a hospital if you are experiencing an emergency such as chest pain, severe blood loss or if someone has stopped breathing.
UNNECESSARY 000 CALLS
Recent examples of patients calling 000 where an ambulance response was not deemed to be necessary:
- A person who had caught their toenail on a bed-sheet.
- A person who couldn't sleep.
- A person who had recently noticed her shoulder blades "stuck out".
- A person who called in the middle of the night after recalling swallowing some foil the previous morning.
- A person who had developed a sore hand from turning on a tap.
- A person who called after they had a bad dream.