A child making an unusual statement to false claims of dire emergencies - ambulance call handlers dealt with all kinds of hoax calls between 2022 and 2023.

The Leader reported recently how, from the beginning of 2022 up to July 2023, a total of 171,058 North Wales incidents were reported to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Of those, according to Freedom of Information data, 94 were confirmed to be 'hoax' calls - not to be confused with 'inappropriate' calls - with 58 being made in 2022 and 36 from January to July this year.

The ambulance service has now provided the Leader with some examples of these hoax calls which, even though some may appear genuine on the face of it, were confirmed to be malicious in nature.

During the time period the FOI data covers, these are some of the hoax calls which were made to the service: 

  • Child caller said ‘poo head’
  • Children used a payphone to request an ambulance; picking the phone up then putting it down
  • Caller said house was on fire
  • Caller said he stubbed his toe then hung up
  • Reports of a fire with one person trapped inside a reach truck inside the building with racking on top of him
  • Said it was a prank call and that they don’t need an ambulance; kept putting the phone down

Hoax calls refer to people who have gone to deliberate lengths to waste the Welsh Ambulance Service's time and resource - for example by calling a crew out to something which simply doesn’t exist.

By comparison, inappropriate calls to the service occur when the caller has a genuine clinical need - for example a cut finger or earache - but has made an ill-judged decision to call 999 when more appropriate options exist.

Stephen Sheldon, Interim Head of Service in North Wales for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Time spent dealing with hoax calls could be time spent helping others whose situation is life or death.

"Misuse of 999 is highly irresponsible, not to mention a criminal offence, and we work closely with police to prosecute where possible.

“Please only call 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies.”