More than one million pounds of public money is wasted every month when crews from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust are called out but find nobody to treat.
Figures from NWAS have revealed that every month there are 1,181 ambulance responses to locations where no patients are found, costing the NHS £171,000 a month.
A further 6,207 responses are made to people who refuse care and treatment from paramedics when they arrive on scene at a cost of £900,000 a month.
NWAS has published the figures as part of its ‘make the right call’ campaign which urges the public to choose the right NHS service to get the most appropriate care and ensure ambulances are only going to people who really need them.
Director of Operations at NWAS, Ged Blezard said: “The cost of wasted journeys is significant, but so is the amount of time that we spend looking for people who we think need our help when we could actually be helping someone else.
“It is really important that if people no longer need us they call 999 to cancel so that we can get to the next patient quickly and don’t waste time trying to find people who don’t need or want our help.”
NWAS crews respond to 3,000 incidents every day across five counties – Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside – and the maximum number of ambulances on the road serving the population of over seven million people is 329.
Essentially this means that there is one ambulance per 21,000 people.
Mr Blezard added: “Please call 999 to cancel an ambulance if it’s no longer needed.”