The National Ambulance Service (NAS) has expressed concern about an increase in prank calls to its call centre.

According to NAS, an evaluation of its operations in 2021 indicated that 80 percent of calls received at the call centre, were sham.

Such prank calls, according to the Service, are hampering timely access to ambulance services, a major medical emergency, and might endanger people’s lives.

Mr. Foster Ansong, the NAS’s Deputy Director of Operations, stated his concern to the Daily Graphic in Accra on Thursday and urged the public to refrain from dialing the toll-free number – 112 if they do not require their services.

He further stated that the deceptive calls could jeopardize the country’s quality of medical emergency services, as well as NAS’s aim of becoming a world-class emergency medical service (EMS) that provides high-quality, cost-effective emergency health care.

“Prank calls have a significant impact on our services.” When we answer the phone, we hear things like, ‘My hair is on fire; please come and extinguish it,’ ‘The dispute between my wife and me has set our house on fire,’ and ‘My dog is dying; we need an ambulance,’ Mr Ansong said.

He also noted that most of the calls were made by youngsters, “the majority of the calls were made by children. emergency call centers are only meant for emergency situations and when citizens are in distress.”

Mr. Ansong further stated that a major barrier to NAS’s effective service delivery is the disregard for emergency sirens.

While he acknowledged that the road network and traffic conditions in most regions of the country makes movement difficult for NAS, he noted that the problem is made worse when drivers refuse to give way to NAS vehicles.

He explained that because of the emergency nature of their services, ambulances must be given priority in traffic, whether or not they are carrying patients.

“What we forget is that the empty ambulance may be responding to an emergency call or saving a life, which could be one of our own family members or friends.”

Mr, Ansong concluded that, “an ambulance should constantly be going at a high speed to ensure prompt response to emergency.”

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