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Five patients in Yorkshire dialled 999 nearly 1,900 times in one year

One patient in Yorkshire called emergency services 587 times in one year
One patient in Yorkshire called emergency services 587 times in one year
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Five patients in Yorkshire between them dialled 999 nearly 1,900 times in one year, it has emerged.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service received a total of 1,887 emergency calls from its five biggest 'frequent callers' between November 2016 and last October.

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An ambulance was dispatched 354 times, and those patients were between them taken to hospital 94 times.

The NHS trust says it is working to support these and other frequent callers, many of whom have 'complex needs', to ensure they receive the most 'appropriate' care.

The most frequent caller in Yorkshire dialled 999 on 587 occasions, and while an ambulance was dispatched 51 times they were only taken to hospital three times.

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More than 430,000 emergency calls were answered by the trust during 2017/18.

Dr Steven Dykes, deputy medical director at the trust, said: "Our Frequent Callers Team has been proactively managing high-intensity users of the 999 service across Yorkshire since April 2015 and is committed to supporting patients to access the services best placed to meet their needs.

"We often find that frequent callers have complex needs such as mental health issues or long-term medical conditions. Whilst they do need help, an emergency ambulance is not an appropriate response in most cases.

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"Our team, which includes mental health specialists, identifies frequent callers to Yorkshire Ambulance Service who need help, but not necessarily assistance from our emergency

staff, and takes steps to put alternative care plans in place working closely with health and social care partners across the region."

The trust added that it was important to differentiate frequent callers, who have a genuine need even if the emergency service is not always best placed to answer that need, from hoax callers who are deliberately wasting the health service's time and money.

Freedom of Information requests by the BBC revealed that the UK's five most frequent callers between them made more than 8,300 emergency calls in 12 months, and ambulances and other emergency response vehicles were deployed to them over 1,500 times.

The mental health charity Mind said the figures showed the needs of those individuals were not being met, while one ambulance service told how misuse of the 999 number was putting a 'huge' strain on its resources.