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Dead dogs and broken nails: Most inappropriate 999 calls revealed

Help, there’s a seagull in my kitchen – and it’s bleeding! From dead dogs to broken finger nails, this year’s most inappropriate 999 calls are revealed

  • South Western Ambulance Service has revealed time wasting calls they received
  • Transcripts include man who seemingly hoped to use an ambulance as a taxi
  • Staff expect to handle more than 3,100 incidents in days leading to Christmas  

Calling 999 should be strictly reserved for emergencies.

But one ambulance service has become so fed up with timewasters that it has shared the most ridiculous examples – from a woman who lost a fingernail to a man seeking help for a bleeding seagull.

As health staff face extreme pressure this Christmas, the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) released transcripts of the year’s strangest conversations in a bid to deter unnecessary calls.

Other examples include a woman reporting that her dog had died and a man who seemingly hoped to use an ambulance as a taxi.

South Western Ambulance Service have released transcripts of the year’s strangest conversations in a bid to deter unnecessary calls (file picture)


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Fearing that demand for services is likely to peak between December 22 and Boxing Day – with staff expected to deal with more than 3,100 incidents a day – staff have asked the public to think carefully before calling 999. 

David Fletcher, of the SWAS foundation trust which serves the south-west of England, said: ‘Calling for an ambulance when it is not absolutely necessary puts additional pressure on our limited resources, and may mean we cannot reach those who are most in need. 

Please think carefully before calling 999 and ask yourself … is it a real emergency?’

The non-emergencies, from bad dreams to dead dogs 

 The bird-brain

A caller contacted SWAS to say they’d found a bleeding seagull (file picture)

Operator: Ambulance service – is the patient breathing?

Caller: I’ve just got home, and I’ve found a seagull in my house.

Operator: You’ve found a seagull in your house?

Caller: And the seagull is bleeding. You know? It’s a baby one.

Operator: Sir, we don’t deal with animals; we deal with humans.

The nightmare caller

Operator: Right, so what’s happened to you? What are your symptoms?

Caller: I keep having very, very strange dreams…

One transcript revealed a person who had a ‘very strange dream’ (file picture)

For want of a nail…

Caller: I’ve had this before basically. My whole nail has come off, and it’s bleeding. And they told me last time I needed to get an ambulance.

Operator: The 999 service is extremely busy, and priority is being given to patients who are assessed as immediately at risk of dying.

Caller: Yeah. I’ve just been at the hospital for three hours, and no one’s seen me.

Looking for a lift

Caller: Basically, I phoned the ambulance earlier on and now I’ve been told to phone you again to see whether I can get help on getting home.

Operator: Getting home? No, you need to speak to the hospital. We’re the ambulance service, we don’t take people home sir.

One woman called to report her dog had died (file picture)

In the dog house

Caller: It’s my dog. It’s died, dead.

Operator: Your dog has died?

Caller: Yes, today.

Operator: We are the emergency service, the ambulance service. And we don’t do anything with animals. Alright?

Caller: I understand. Thank you very much for your help.

Operator: You’re welcome.

Unsound advice

Caller: Hello, you need to turn the ambulance sirens down. They hurt people’s ears, and it can cause an accident.

I don’t know who to call. But this is the ambulance number. So I’m calling this.

Operator: Okay, madam. What’s your address, madam?

Caller: I don’t want to give you my address, because I think you’ll just say I called inappropriately.

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