The rise in the number of hoax calls registered by the ambulance service in each of the HSE areas since 2007 has been described as “beyond belief” and a clear indication of the time wasting that is being experienced by the emergency services.
That is according to Mayo Fine Gael Deputy John O’Mahony who has received figures from the HSE showing a 660 per cent increase in hoax calls in six years.
“Figures recorded by the HSE show an astronomical increase in the number of hoax calls to the executive’s ambulance service in recent years. In 2007, 655 hoax calls were recorded. That figure ballooned to 4,329 last year; that’s an increase of 660 per cent in just six years,” Dep O’Mahony outlined.
“In some instances the people behind these hoax calls may hang up once they are asked for further details but in many other cases emergency services are being dispatched unnecessarily to attend crises which have been fabricated by people with nothing better to do with their time. This is a grotesque waste of our emergency responders’ time, which could be infinitely better served attending to incidents where they are actually needed,” he added.
Dep O’Mahony recently highlighted the high level of hoax calls being recorded by the Coast Guard, which has also grown exponentially from 27 in 2006 to 369 in 2011. “These figures from the HSE illustrate that it too is falling victim to this type of time and resource wasting at the hands of pranksters.
“The HSE has informed me that data in relation to the costs incurred as a result of hoax calls would take significant resources to compile and so is not currently available. 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,” said an outraged Dep O’Mahony.
He has called for proper penalties to be put in place to ensure that people who are engaged in this “devious and deceitful practice” are held to account and that they are named and shamed so that the full extent of their actions can be made known.