Hoax 999 calls cost lives

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A video warning people of the dangers of hoax 999 calls has received two honours.

A viral video entitled ‘999 South Central’ and produced by Twofour Group for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) to highlight how misuse of the service can cost lives has won a Bronze Award in the Best Digital Communications category and been highly commended in the Best Public Relations category at the International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) Awards 2012.

These were held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 23 March. The video has received over 63,000 views since it was launched on YouTube on January 5, 2012 in response to SCAS receiving 1,235 hoax calls and many more inappropriate calls during 2011.

The Trust’s ‘999 South Central’ campaign additionally comprises another video on YouTube expressing the crews views on ambulance misuse together with vehicle vinyl decals which are being produced for the Trust’s Rapid Response Vehicles, Double Crewed Ambulances and motorcycles. These proclaim the slogan ‘Misuse Costs Lives’ and the Trust is currently planning the phased introduction of these vehicle vinyl decals across its fleet.

The IVCA Awards are recognised as the premier marks of excellence for effective business and public sector communications in video, interactive projects, business television and digital media.

Will Hancock, SCAS’ CEO said: ‘Demand for our service has doubled in the last 10 years and continues to increase at around 10 per cent per year. It costs around £480,000 to run an ambulance for a year and approximately £257 for an ambulance to attend an incident.

‘Please do you bit to help your local ambulance service and think before you dial 999. The emergency ambulance service exists for genuine medical emergencies and life-threatening situations only. The Trust has one ambulance per 33,000 people. Calling for an ambulance when you don’t need one can put another person’s life at risk by tying up a valuable resource that could respond to a genuine life threatening medical emergency! We hope our ‘999 South Central’ campaign will encourage everyone to use their local ambulance service responsibly.’

Winning an IVCA Award brings with it national and international recognition. There is no higher accolade for creativity, originality, production expertise and sheer effectiveness in communication.

Gill Hodgetts, SCAS’ Head of Communications & PR said: ‘Just getting short-listed for these awards is tough enough, but to actually win one is really

exciting!’

The 2012 IVCA Awards attracted entries from a number of prestigious and familiar organisations including BP, British Red Cross, Barclays, Deloittes, Boehringer Ingelheim, Jaguar Land Rover, Vodafone and British Airways.

‘999 South Central’ can be viewed online at www.999southcentral.co.uk/