An abusive caller from Heanor who inappropriately rang 999 1,868 times and cost the NHS more than £30,000 has been jailed for six months.
Stacey White, of Burnthouse Road, Heanor, appeared at Derbyshire Magistrates Court on 29 June charged with persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety.
White had previously been prosecuted in 2014 for misusing the 999 emergency line and physically assaulting one of our paramedics, where she was handed a 20-week suspended prison sentence.
However, White continued to ring our emergency line 498 times between March 2016 and April 2017 to unleash a tirade of abuse on the call handlers, and so she has now been sentenced to 26 weeks in prison.
Deborah Powell, Frequent Caller Lead for EMAS, explained that White’s actions had cost the service £30,936 in the last financial year, and she has rung 999 1,868 times since she was identified as a frequent caller in 2011.
She said: “By repeatedly making inappropriate calls to the 999 service, Ms White demonstrated flagrant disregard for others experiencing life threatening emergencies who genuinely need our help.
“Ms White has been known to EMAS as a frequent caller since 2011 and we have worked closely with the services supporting her.
“Despite this, she has continued to inappropriately call 999 and be abusive to our staff so we had no choice but to prosecute her again for misusing the service.
“Our emergency call handlers are there to provide life-saving advice over the phone and do not expect to be abused when they come to work.
“We would urge people again to make the right 999 call and only phone us in a life threatening emergency.
“We will continue to prosecute those who misuse our service to ensure that the support is there for those who need it in a real medical emergency.”
Simon Tomlinson, General Manager for our Emergency Operations Centres, would like to remind people to only dial 999 in the event of a serious emergency and remember the other options available, such as calling NHS 111, contact their GP or a pharmacist or visit an NHS Walk in Centre.
He said: “When you call 999 because someone is unconscious, not breathing, having chest pains or has the symptoms of a stroke, you are making the right call.
“Calling us to abuse our staff is not the right call - someone in cardiac arrest is.
“We will not accept our dedicated staff being abused in this way and will take every course of action open to us in protecting our valuable team.
“Every 999 call is assessed so that the right help is provided to the right people, so you could receive the right treatment for you more quickly by contacting an alternative NHS service particularly if your call is not a serious emergency.”