Wednesday 26th February 2014 – 3.15pm – John Hawker.
A man from Wolverhampton has been jailed for 12 weeks for making thousands of malicious calls to the NHS 111 medical helpline.
Anil Gautan, from Church Road in Bradmore, Wolverhampton, made 5,000 bogus calls between August and November last year. Many of the 28-year-old’s calls were of a sexual nature during which he falsely claimed to be suffering a range of genital complaints.
West Midlands Ambulance Service contacted the police and an investigation was launched into the phone calls.
Steve Elliker, Regional Head of Security & Safety for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “The Trust welcomes the sentencing. It is completely unacceptable that our 111 control room staff – people who are there to help callers in their time of need – should have to face malicious and abusive calls. The Trust has a zero tolerance policy on behaviour like this and works alongside police to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who abuses our service or staff.”
NHS 111 Director, Daren Fradgley said: “Since we took over the 111 service in November we have been committed to providing the best possible service to callers and this can be hampered by malicious calls. Whilst our staff are busy dealing with this type of call they are not available to provide help for genuine patients. I hope this case sends out a clear message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and we will use all options open to us to ensure malicious calls are stopped.”
West Midlands Police Force Contact Manager, Chief Inspector Richard Fisher, said calls of this nature won’t be tolerated and take staff away from potential emergencies. He added: “Misuse of Blue Light services’ numbers – be it NHS 111, 999 or the police 101 non-emergency number – deflects resources away from people in genuine need of assistance or those who are reporting serious crimes.”