Nottingham frequent caller sent to prison for 12 months

Nottingham frequent caller sent to prison for 12 months

Call handler sat at desk with headset on focusing on computer system

A frequent caller who has wasted more than £46,000 of EMAS money and repeatedly appeared in court charged with nuisance calls has been sent to prison.

Holly Coogan, 32, of Vernon Road, Basford, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on 6 February 2020 where she was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Ms Coogan has been managed by our dedicated Frequent Callers Team since July 2018 and has repeatedly appeared in court where she was warned to stop making false 999 calls.

She was handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) during court sentencing in January 2019, but continued to take up more than 58 hours of our 999 call handlers’ time, costing £46,000 in public money.

Despite extensive work from our Frequent Caller team including multi-disciplinary meetings, and substantial support from mental health, alcohol and social services, Ms Coogan continued to call ambulances inappropriately while intoxicated.

On 19 November 2019, Ms Coogan appeared before Judge Samson when he deferred sentencing for six months, but she soon began making calls to emergency services again.

During sentencing yesterday, the judge said the emergency services and the public deserved to have a respite from her. She has therefore been sentenced to 12 months in prison and her CBO has been extended to five years from yesterday.

Deborah Powell, Frequent Caller Lead at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We have zero tolerance towards anyone who misuses our emergency services and puts patients with real emergencies at risk.

“Ms Coogan’s calls were often of a particularly distressing nature and our 999 call handlers sometimes found these calls traumatic, even with their extensive training and organisational support.

“There are some patients who repeatedly call 999 and our team are often able to intervene and work with our local NHS and social care partners and police to understand why the patient is frequently calling and put pathways in place to make sure their health needs are met in a different way.  

We have repeatedly tried to support Ms Coogan over the last 18 months by working with multi-agency teams.

“Unfortunately, she has not ceased her behaviour and we welcome the custodial sentence today as it will help to protect patients who genuinely need us, and our 999 call handlers who come to work to help people.

“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.”