An Ashfield woman has been jailed after inappropriately calling 999 almost 2,000 times – costing the NHS more than £30,000.
Stacey White, of Lawns Road, Annesley Woodhouse – who had been convicted of assaulting a paramedic and misusing the emergency line in 2014 – continued to call 999 and unleash a tirade of abuse on call handlers.
She has now been sentenced to 26 weeks in prison after appearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court charged with persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety.
The court heard she made repeated calls for an ambulance to her then home in Heanor, Derbyshire.
Deborah Powell, East Midlands Ambulance Service frequent caller leader, said White’s actions had cost the service £30,936 in the last financial year - telephoning 999 1,868 times since she was identified as a frequent caller in 2011, including 498 times between March 2016 and April 2016 “to unleash a tirade of abuse on the call handlers”.
She said: “By repeatedly making inappropriate calls to the 999 service, White demonstrated flagrant disregard for others experiencing life threatening emergencies who genuinely need our help.
“White has been known to EMAS as a frequent caller since 2011 and we have worked closely with the services supporting her.
“Despite this, she has continued to inappropriately call 999 and be abusive to our staff so we had no choice but to prosecute her again for misusing the service.
“Our emergency call handlers are there to provide life-saving advice over the phone and do not expect to be abused when they come to work.
“We urge people again to make the right 999 call and only phone us in a life threatening emergency.
“We will continue to prosecute those who misuse our service to ensure that the support is there for those who need it in a real medical emergency.”
Simon Tomlinson, EMAS general Manager, reminded people to only dial 999 in the event of a serious emergency and remember the other options available, such as calling NHS 111, contact their GP or a pharmacist or visit an NHS Walk in Centre.
He said: “When you call 999 because someone is unconscious, not breathing, having chest pains or has the symptoms of a stroke, you are making the right call.
“Calling us to abuse our staff is not the right call - someone in cardiac arrest is.”
In March 2014, White, then aged 28 and of Iona Gardens, Top Valley, Nottingham, was handed a suspended prison sentence after dialling 999 for an ambulance 1,300 times in just three years.
She admitted three counts of persistent nuisance calls and one of assault, for a sustained attack on a paramedic called to her home in October 2013.
She was handed a 20-week jail term, suspended for 18 months