§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in the light of a recently conducted survey as to the genuine need of emergency ambulance calls, he intends to implement its main recommendation to introduce a standard charge of £5 when calls are undoubtedly shown to be unreasonable and unnecessary.
§ Dr. Vaughan
Any emergency service with free access will inevitably have a number of unnecessary calls upon it; many of these will be the result of mistakes about the urgency of the situation. We are seeking ways of reducing the unnecessary use of the ambulance services but a standard charge could discourage genuine calls, and would be very difficult and costly to administer. Education of the public is a better course. We have202W posters for this purpose but there is scope for further action locally to follow these up.