EMAS sets up frequent callers team after one man rings for ambulance 500 times in 12 months
One man called the East Midlands Ambulance Service a staggering 500 times last year.
Now a dedicated team has been set up to deal with the more than 10,000 repeat calls EMAS received in 2015.
A small number of patients called more than 100 times, with one man having made a staggering 514 callouts in 12 months.
Deb Scothern of EMAS said: “We do have two or three callers who now have criminal behaviour orders, so they are not allowed to call unless there is a genuine emergency.
“But they are the extreme end of the spectrum.
“We are finding that about 80 per cent of the people who are frequent callers have mental health problems and or drug and alcohol problems.
“That’s why we are investing in mental health nurses within EMAS, and we are looking at more mental health training for our staff.
“Every month I get a list of private addresses that have called five or more times.
“Because of capacity, we are looking at the type of calls, and we have a look at who is calling and what the paramedics find when they get there.
“Then we give the GP a call, because it might be that they just need a review from the GP, and it may be that they are calling inappropriately.
“We can put plans in place to make sure that they go through to the clinical assessment team, and they can advise patients on where they can receive more appropriate healthcare.
“I also work with mental healthcare teams and drug and alcohol teams, and we all work together and share information.
“We are also looking at better ways we can signpost people to the most appropriate care, because it frees up resources.
“At the moment our team is quite small, but we’re looking to expand it and we have just got some money to get a clinician within the frequent callers team.
“We also found that when a lot of people receive a supportive letter advising them of the more appropriate level of support, whether that’s mental health or addiction support, far fewer of them are still calling for ambulances.”