Ambulances called to trivial matters

BENDIGO residents are calling ambulances for non life-threatening incidents on a regular basis, a Bendigo paramedic says.

Brett Adie said his team sometimes spent entire shifts attending trivial incidents.

"Some of these jobs are ridiculous to say the least," Mr Adie said.

"I've been to someone who couldn't work out how to cool their house down on a hot day, so we went there and opened the windows.

"There was nothing physically wrong with them, they were just hot."

He said in another incident a woman blatantly abused the ambulance service, which she used to get a lift into the city centre.

"She went to the doctor and pretended she was in pain, got dropped at the hospital in the ambulance then got out," he said.

Mr Adie said he had attended numerous incidents of people having paper cuts on their fingers and occasions when people couldn't sleep.

"If we only attended what you and I consider emergencies we would never have a shortage of crews.

"A lot of the time we're operating as a taxi service."

Mr Adie said people were not fined for wasting paramedics' time but said he didn't necessarily support introducing a fine system.

"It would be easy to say, 'yes there should be fines' but how do you determine what's a waste of time?" he said.

He instead called on people to think about what they wanted from an ambulance service.

“If they want an ambulance that does all these sorts of things they have to be prepared to pay for it," he said.

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