NEW figures show that thousands of non-emergency calls are being made each week, prompting NSW Ambulance and Police to ask the public to only dial Triple Zero in emergency situations.
In the 12 months leading up to March 31 2021, NSW Ambulance responded to more than 200,000 jobs where no patient was taken to hospital with reasons ranging from hoax calls to refusal of transport.
For the same period, NSW Ambulance also received a concerning number of calls for trivial matters.
Over one thousand people called Triple Zero complaining about constipation, 662 for a toothache, 215 for earaches, 167 for boils, 157 from people who couldn't sleep and 16 for hiccups.
During the same period, the NSW Police Force received almost 800,000 requests for assistance via Triple Zero, in addition to more than 580,000 non-emergency reports through the Police Assistance Line and the Community Portal.
Of the Triple Zero calls, roughly 40,000 were transferred to a non-emergency line, while more than 150,000 were later deemed to have been more suitable to a non-emergency line.
NSW Ambulance Assistant Commissioner Steven Norris, Director of Control Centres, said non-emergency jobs take paramedics away from their most important work - saving lives.
We want the public to think before calling us for trivial matters.- Steven Norris
"If you have a medical emergency, we will always respond to you, but too often, our paramedics are responding to calls that we simply don't need to attend," he said.
"We want the public to think before calling us for trivial matters.
"If it isn't a medical emergency, please consider other health services such as your GP, a pharmacist or a registered nurse at HealthDirect, which is available 24 hours a day."
NSW Police Communications and Security Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Rashelle Conroy, said there are a variety of ways for the community to report non-emergency or minor incidents.
"Triple Zero operators understand that life-threatening incidents can be traumatic and stressful, and their priority is to establish where help is needed," he said.
"More than 70 per cent of calls to Triple Zero are made from mobile phones, and as callers often focus on relaying what's happening, our operators need to take control and pinpoint the exact location of the emergency to know where to send police or other resources.
"When the caller is unsure of where they are - or how to describe it - call-processing times can be longer, so to ensure there's always an operator available for any emergency, we're reminding the community to save Triple Zero for saving lives."
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