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Ambulance Service

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what system is used by ambulance services in England and Wales to eliminate hoax and unnecessary calls for emergency assistance; what plans he has to review these mechanisms; in what circumstances ambulance services may decide not to attend calls considered to be hoax or unnecessary; and if he will make a statement. [17214]

Measures are being taken to reduce the number of hoax calls in a joint initiative between emergency services and telephone operating companies. Ambulance services are also introducing priority dispatch systems which will help identify unnecessary calls. If hoax calls are a particular problem, ambulance services may develop local policies and protocols for not attending in such cases. These must be agreed with local clinicians.