Bogus calls for ambulances ‘almost doubled’ in five years

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Edinburgh West MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has warned malicious calls to the Scottish Ambulance Service are putting lives at risk.

A freedom of information request by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed the number of bogus emergency calls has increased by more than 84 per cent since 2012-13, from 881 to 1,622.

Mr Cole-Hamilton, who is the party’s health spokesman, said: “The people in our ambulance service do an incredible job which saves countless lives.

“The service has responded to approaching three million call outs during the last five years and services are busier and busier.

“It is therefore concerning to see that hoax calls have doubled in the same time frame.

“Anyone who maliciously calls for an ambulance should be ashamed of themselves.

“These calls are putting lives in danger. An ambulance that is diverted to a hoax is one that is unavailable to save a life elsewhere.”

He added: “We all know the strains that our health staff are under and as such we need to ensure that the Scottish Ambulance Service and other agencies have the resources they need to educate people over the dangers that malicious calls pose.”