Friday 17 February 2012 by Waylandsmithy

Doctors slam ‘needlessly complex’ 555 non-emergency line for stubbed toes


Doctors have criticised plans to streamline emergency phone calls into nine different phone numbers, from 111, 222 through to the full-on 999.

111 will be reserved for people who feel the need to tell authorities that they’ve ‘nearly tripped over something’, the dog’s a bit hungry or that the remote control isn’t where they left it.

At the other end of the scale, 999 should only be called to report advanced werewolfism, zombie bites or that at least 65% of your home town is on fire.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will be dropping information leaflets from a modified air ambulance to silence critics. Illustrated by his wife, he believes they explain exactly when to phone each of the nine numbers, and the penalties for phoning the wrong one.

“222 is for those that are cold and need reminding to wear a jumper”, explained Lansley. “555, on the other hand, is for letting us know you’ve had an ‘owie’, and it’s still throbbing. Things get a little more serious from 666 onwards: those are answered by real people, from our call centre in Tonga.”

Non-emergency number

To prevent misdiagnoses, children working at the call centre will be trained how to Google a patient’s medical records, make soothing ‘ahhh’ noises and alert the police if someone is abusing the system.

“The leaflets are quite clear”, insisted Lansley.

“If you’ve stubbed your toe but the nail isn’t broken, then call us on 555. If you try and cheat the system and phone 666 or higher, then the non-emergency police will be dispatched, to administer an on-the-spot fine.”

000 will be reserved for private patients, with all calls answered by Joanna Lumley.

Lansley admitted that this was the only number that could dispatch an ambulance, but he was quick to explain that it ‘freed up valuable space on the buses’ for critically injured poor people.

“To be honest, if you’re skint there’s no point rushing to hospital anyway”, admitted Lansley. “You’ll need to pass a credit check to get into the new A&E.”

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