Bizarre 999 calls slammed as ambulances are called to injured rabbit and man who glued cups to his head

An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department.
An ambulance outside Sunderland Royal Hospital's Accident and Emergency department.
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A MAN who glued five plastic cups to his head was among the most weird 999 calls to ambulance crews.

One woman dialled 999 because she had the hiccups, while a rabbit owner rang up because her pet had a sore leg, said North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

One caller even rang for help because a contact lens had become stuck in their eye.

Ambulance chiefs are today reminding people that the 999 service is for genuine emergencies only and not for trivial matters.

A NEAS spokeswoman said: “All 999 calls are treated as an emergency.

“That means a call taker has to go through a series of questions to establish the facts of an incident.

“Handling requests which are clearly not an emergency means a call handler is tied up, when they could be despatching an ambulance to someone genuinely in need.”

The details of calls to made to NEAS during 2011, come as emergency services recover from their busy festive period.

NEAS received nearly 1,200 calls to 999 on what is known as “Black Eye Friday” night going into Saturday morning – a 20 per cent increase on a normal weekend.

The spokeswoman added that even the shortest calls can often divert emergency crews from genuine serious incidents, where lives may be in danger.

She said: “November, December and January are always our busiest period due to the fact we tend to have bad weather, there are more viral infections floating about, and the amount of alcohol consumed also increases.

“That’s why it’s extra-important that people don’t clog up with 999 system with trivial inquiries.

“Obviously when you look back at some of the requests that come in they are almost comical – but the impact they could have is anything but.

“These types of calls slow the 999 system down.

“Speed is of the essence when dealing with a true emergency, and we need to make sure that people in need can get the help they require.”

Twitter: @davidallison88