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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - PUBLIC URGED TO 'SAVE TRIPLE ZERO FOR SAVING LIVES'

Sunday, 02 May 2021 11:51:57 AM

NSW Ambulance and NSW Police are appealing to the public to only call Triple Zero in emergency situations to ensure paramedics and police officers can help those most in need.

New figures show thousands of non-emergency Triple Zero calls are being made each week at a time when emergency services have never been busier.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2021, NSW Ambulance responded to more than 200,000 jobs where no patient was taken to hospital with reasons ranging from hoax calls to refusal of transport.

For the same period, NSW Ambulance also received a concerning number of calls for trivial matters including 1,036 calls from people complaining about constipation, 662 for a toothache, 215 for earaches, 167 for boils, 157 from people who couldn’t sleep and 16 for hiccups.

During the same period, the NSW Police Force received almost 800,000 requests for assistance via Triple Zero, which is in addition to more than 580,000 non-emergency reports through the Police Assistance Line and the Community Portal.

Of the Triple Zero calls, about 40,000 are transferred to a non-emergency line, but more than 150,000 calls are later deemed to have been more suitable to a non-emergency line.

NSW Ambulance Assistant Commissioner Steven Norris, Director of Control Centres, said non-emergency jobs take paramedics and call takers away from their most important work – saving lives.

“If you are having a medical emergency we will always respond to you but too often our paramedics are responding to calls that we simply don’t need to attend,” Mr Norris said.

“We want the public to think before calling us for trivial matters.

“If it isn’t a medical emergency, please consider other health services such as your GP, a pharmacist or a registered nurse at HealthDirect which is available 24 hours a day.”

NSW Police Communications and Security Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Rashelle Conroy, said there are a variety of ways for the community to report non-emergency or minor incidents, which saves Triple Zero for all emergencies.

“Triple Zero operators understand that life-threatening incidents can be traumatic and stressful and their priority is to establish where help is needed and why,” A/Assistant Commissioner Conroy said.

“More than 70% of calls to Triple Zero are made from mobile phones and as callers often focus on relaying what’s happening, our operators need to take control and pinpoint the exact location of the emergency to know where to send police or other resources.

“When the caller is unsure of where they are – or how to describe it – call-processing times can be longer, so to ensure there’s always an operator available for any emergency, we’re reminding the community to save Triple Zero for saving lives.”

In 2020-21, the NSW Government is investing more than $1 billion in services and capital works for NSW Ambulance.

To help meet increasing demand, NSW Ambulance will soon deploy 100 paramedics earlier than planned as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to recruit 750 new paramedics and control centre staff over four years from 2018.

In 2019, the NSW Government committed to investing more than $583 million to deliver 1500 extra police over four years.