As reported in our most recent edition of Your Call, over one million pounds of public money was wasted in a 12-month period* after ambulance crews in the North West were called out but then found nobody at the address to treat.
An average of around 1,050 of our ambulance vehicles responded every month to find no patient at the scene of the emergency, at a cost of more than £177,000 to the NHS.
In addition, almost 6,000 ambulance journeys per month were wasted when ambulance crews responded to patients who refused care and treatment, costing the NHS a staggering £1 million.
So both combined, wasted ambulance journeys cost us £13,803,627 in the last 12 months.
This is the equivalent to any one of the following:
• 90 brand new emergency ambulances
• The salaries and staffing costs for 281 paramedics or 405 emergency medical technicians
• 1,200 high spec monitoring devices for heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and defibrillation of patients in cardiac arrest
• 2,760,735 blankets to keep patients warm
• 1,453 ambulance stretchers
Director of Operations Ged Blezard said: “There are many reasons why people may not be there when our crews arrive. Sometimes they decide to go to hospital with a family member, or decide they don’t need our help anymore and get treatment elsewhere – but they don’t let us know.
“This could be down to unrealistic expectations of how quickly ambulances respond, or because we are simply that busy that they, unfortunately, have to wait longer for a response than we would like.
“This isn’t something that has happened as a result of the pandemic, we see figures like this year after year.
“It is really important this Easter that if people no longer need us, they call 999 to cancel so that we can get to the next patient quickly who may be in a life or death situation.
“We want to be there for the people of the North West and not wasting our time trying to find people who don’t need or want our help.”
*Data taken from October 2020 to November 2021.