THE NUMBER OF ambulance hoax calls has rocketed over the last six years, according to figures from the HSE that show over 4,000 were recieved last year.
Figures given to Fine Gael Deputy John O’Mahony by the HSE on its ambulance service show that the number of these has risen from 655 in 2007 to 4,329 in 2012 – an increase of 660 per cent in six years.
The 2012 figure is a drop on the previous year when 4,753 hoax calls were made.
In some instances, the people behind the calls may hang up once they are asked for further details but O’Mahony said that, in many cases, services are being dispatched unnecessarily to attend crises which have been “fabricated by people with nothing better to do with their time”.
In response to O’Mahony’s query the HSE said that data in relation to costs incurred as a result of hoax calls is not widely available and would take significant resources to compile.
“Whatever the cost may be in monetary terms, it is nothing in terms of the human cost that may be paid as a result of these stunts being carried out,” O’Mahony commented.
The Fine Gael TD is calling for penalties to be put in place to ensure that people who engage in this “deceitful practice” are held to account and “named and shamed”.