By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 10, 2012 | 2 min read

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and South Central Strategic Health Authority have created a viral campaign with Rocket Science, part of Twofour Group, to show how misusing 999 costs lives.

The project, which aims to help tackle hoax calling and inappropriate use of the ambulance service, revolves around a YouTube video, supported by an online seeding and PR plan.

Garo Berberian, executive producer, said: “Being out on the road with the ambulance service, along with an intense period of research, was absolutely paramount to the successful execution of the project. It also allowed us to realise, first hand, how incredibly hard the ambulance service works and the importance of cutting down hoax callers and inappropriate use.”

Simon Lukas, team leader at SCAS, added: “It is normal everyday for us to be called out to people who are hurt but do not need an ambulance – in fact a couple of paracetamol are what is needed. We also experience a lot of calls from people who are drunk and families of people who are drunk. We have been called by a woman who wanted us to reach for her TV remote control and a gentleman who wanted us to pour out some orange juice.

“Then you hear that a car around the corner has hit a child. We should be there but we are busy with someone who doesn’t need us. It is very frustrating that someone who doesn’t need it takes an ambulance needed by someone in an emergency, in a life-threatening situation.”


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