Abusive caller costs NHS almost £25,000

Abusive caller costs NHS almost £25,000

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Update 24 January 2018: In light of information received on 23 January, we have been asked and we have agreed to remove the name of an individual on our website and social media accounts on this occasion. 

However, we are pleased to confirm that as a result of court action, the individual has not called EMAS via 999 since then, and the prosecution has so far had a positive impact. We will continue to work together with colleagues within the police, and health and social care services.

A frequent caller who rang for an ambulance 344 times in six months has appeared in court.

Thomas Exhall, from Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, made the calls to 999 and 111 between 1 December 2017 and 29 April 2018 and his actions cost the NHS a total of £24,883.

Exhall was usually intoxicated when he rang, and often verbally abused our 999 call handlers and ambulance crews who attended him. If he was taken to hospital he would often discharge himself before being seen, and then he would go home, and call 999 or 111 again.

Exhall appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Monday 14 January where he denied both making the calls and his abusive behaviour.

Magistrates found Exhall guilty and he was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £400 in compensation to EMAS.

Another frequent caller was prosecuted last week for making more than 200 fake calls in just over two weeks. She appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court. 

This frequent caller from Derbyshire, made the calls between Christmas and New Year and freely admitted in calls that she was ringing because she was “bored and didn’t care about anyone else”. 

When she realised her number had been blocked by the emergency services, she bought different sim cards for her mobile phone so that she could continue to make 999 calls.

This individual was ordered to pay £165 in fines and she was given a conditional discharge for 18 months.

Our Frequent Caller Team work closely with police and other professionals in an attempt to support these individuals, but have been left with no option but to pursue prosecution.

Deborah Powell, Frequent Caller Lead for EMAS, said: “We are pleased that we have had two successful prosecutions after a lot of hard work.

“We would urge people again to make the right 999 call and only phone us in a life-threatening emergency.

Our staff come to work to save lives and help people, not to be abused. We will continue to work with police to prosecute those who misuse our service to ensure that the support is there for those who need it in a real medical emergency.”