SIPTU and the National Ambulance Service have highlighted the problems caused by people who make non-emergency call-outs to ambulances.
Not only does this divert services from potentially life-threatening calls, these 'nuisance' calls are also wasting time and resources.
Figures released by the Department of Communications earlier this year revealed more than half of the calls made to the emergency services in 2016 were not related to emergencies.
According to department figures, 772,856 genuine calls were made for emergency services requests in 2016. Of the remaining calls some 635,537 were registered as silent calls, 149,642 were calls with noisy lines, and 31,689 calls were recorded as “children playing”. A percentage of calls also included misdials, requests for non-emergency services, and abusive callers. These calls together made up 169,077 of 999 and 112 calls last year.
SIPTU says it should be a crime to make time consuming, non-life-threatening calls, as they could delay medical assistance in genuine cases.