SHOALHAVEN residents have been reminded that ambulances are not taxis.
Local paramedics are becoming frustrated by the increasing number of people attempting to use ambulances as a taxi service for treatment of minor ailments.
Bomaderry Ambulance station officer Scott Styles said there is an alarming trend of people misusing the service.
He said paramedics were not deterring genuinely sick people from calling an ambulance.
“If you are genuinely ill and feel you have to go to hospital please call an ambulance,” he said.
“But we are finding we are getting more and more calls for nonlife-threatening or minor events that really don’t require an ambulance.
“We had one such job recently where we were called to an emergency to a man who was bleeding,” he said.
“We responded with lights and sirens and when we arrived we found the gentleman had been to his GP and had been advised to go to the hospital.
“That was just 900 metres away from his doctor’s surgery, yet the man decided to drive home, around five kilometres, and then call an ambulance to be taken to hospital.
“People falsely believe by calling an ambulance they will be seen first at hospital.
“This is not the case – patients are triaged and the more seriously injured or ill are seen first.
“We don’t want to deter genuinely sick people from calling an ambulance.
“But if it is only something minor that your GP could deal with, patients are urged to go to or call their GP.
“If a GP thinks it is serious enough they will direct you to go to hospital.
“It is frustrating when we are called to such cases and also takes us away from possibly being able to attend to genuine lifesaving emergencies.
“We are not a taxi service.”