Ambulances called to the same home more than 5,700 TIMES in one year as stretched NHS bombarded by time-wasters

AMBULANCES have been called to the same home more than 5,700 TIMES over the last year as stretched NHS staff are bombarded by time-wasters.

The household in Ramsgate, Kent, dialled 999 an average of 16 times a day over the course of a year.

Despite the barrage of calls an ambulance only needed to be sent to the address 24 times.

Paramedics only judged the situation serious enough to take a patient to hospital fewer than 10 times.

The home is one of seven across the UK which has dialled an ambulance more than 1,000 times over the last year.

Others included an address in Poole, Dorset, which called for an ambulance 4,416 times but only 16 calls resulted in someone being taken to hospital.

Another household in Borehamwood, Herts, dialled 999 more than 1,700 times but someone was taken to hospital just seven times.

Health bosses have warned 'frequent callers' are costing the NHS around £20 million a year and could be placing the lives of genuine callers in danger.

It costs the NHS around £8 in staff and equipment just to answer a 999 call.

Sending an ambulance to an address costs a further £155 and taking a patient to hospital another £250, according to official figures.

But some Trusts stressed the callers are often in need of social care services.

London Ambulance Service says problem callers cost the service £4.4m a year and the resources of around 3,000 12-hour ambulance shifts.

A spokeswoman said: "Although relatively small in number, these patients make it harder for us to reach others with more serious or potentially life-threatening conditions."

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service – which covers the Kent area – said: "For the majority of these individuals it must be stressed that their calls are not vexatious.

"A number of them have challenging clinical presentations couple with complex personal and social vulnerabilities.

"We work with colleague across the health and care sector to ensure these patients receive the correct help and support they need."

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