Many parents ‘would call 999’ if their child’s hand was stuck in a jam jar

One in 10 Londoners would call 999 for an emergency ambulance if their child got their hand stuck in a jam jar, according to a new report.

A new survey focusing on the use of London Ambulance Service found that 10% of Londoners would ring the emergency line in such a situation.

But the poll of 1,000 adults living in the capital found that Londoners have a “high degree of confidence” in their own knowledge of when to call an ambulance, with 56% strongly agreeing with the statement “I know when to call an ambulance”.

Millennials were less confident than older people – 36% of 18 to 24-year-olds strongly agreed, compared to 74% of those over 55.

A report detailing the findings, which forms part of London Assembly Health Committee’s investigation into the future of the London Ambulance Service, found that nine in 10 of those surveyed said that ambulance services should only be used in emergencies.

But the report suggests that people will still call for an ambulance if there are no other options available, even if they know it is not an emergency.

One in three of those polled said they would call an ambulance in a non-emergency situation because they did not know what else to do.

People also had different views on what constitutes as an emergency, the authors wrote.

While 23% of 18 to 24-year-olds would call an ambulance because they could not get an urgent GP appointment – for over 65s this was 6%.

And more than half of 18 to 24-year-olds would call an ambulance in a non-emergency situation because they have no other way to get someone to hospital.

Dr Onkar Sahota, chairman of the London Assembly Health Committee, said: “Paramedics are highly skilled professionals providing a first line of treatment to those most in need of urgent healthcare.

“We need to ensure that all people, of whatever age, know the various ways to get health care.

“Sadly, the 999 system can be abused by those with spurious issues but it also has to cover for problems in other parts of the healthcare system.

“We all need to work together to make the best use of our precious ambulance service resources.”

London Ambulance Service chief executive Garrett Emmerson added: “The latest poll of Londoners shows we need to remind people, of all ages, to use us wisely and only call 999 in a genuine emergency.

“We are delighted that the survey shows that the overwhelming majority of Londoners have confidence in us and think our staff do an excellent job.

“It’s fantastic their dedication and hard work – which we see every day – has received this recognition from the public.”