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Last Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Students 'dialled 999 for taxi'
Kent ambulance
Ambulance crews said they were 'stunned' by the call
A group of students put lives at risk by dialling 999 for an ambulance to take them home after a night drinking.

Kent Ambulance NHS Trust said its crew was "stunned" after the call to an "unwell" woman who was actually drunk, in Canterbury, early on Thursday.

When the crew arrived they found a man and two women. One of them was drunk.

An ambulance spokesman said the students had tried calling a taxi but had no reply, so had contacted the emergency services.

Paramedic team leader Dave Latham said: "The crew told them that they were not a taxi service and that by attending to them they were potentially being taken away from dealing with someone whose life may have been at risk.

Lives could have been put at risk here. We are not a taxi service.
Dave Latham

"The young man then became abusive and said that he didn't care and that it was his right as a tax payer."

The ambulance trust said the crew carried out a medical assessment of the patient and found that she was drunk but otherwise fit and well.

Mr Latham said it was the second time that a Canterbury crew had been called out unnecessarily by students in the town.

A crew was called out on Monday night to the Venue nightclub at the University of Kent where a young man was said to be unwell.

'Think twice'

The ambulance crew tried to establish what was wrong, but he refused to tell them saying that it was his right to be taken to hospital as a tax payer, the trust said.

Mr Latham said: "It is a shame because the vast majority of students are okay, but there is a small minority of people who are giving students a bad name.

"Lives could have been put at risk here.

"We are not a taxi service. We are an emergency service and here to help those who need to be taken to hospital and not to someone's front door.

"We urge students in the town to think about this in the future."

The trust said it had contacted both universities in the town and asked that students are reminded not to dial 999 unnecessarily.




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