An ambulance crew wasted no time when a man dialled 999 and said he had lost the feeling in his legs.
Fearing a critical circulation problem or even a stroke, they raced to his home then rushed him to hospital.
But on arrival he got up, grinned and before walking off he admitted he was in good health and had just wanted a lift to visit a friend in one of the wards.
The timewasting hoax was revealed yesterday by medical technician Shaun Gerrard of the North West Ambulance Service, who said the caller had claimed to have reduced sensation in his legs and poor mobility.
‘We took him to hospital for him to then get up and walk off. He admitted he faked the whole lot just to get a lift!’
NWAS chiefs said call handlers fielded 50 or more calls during 12-hour shifts and many of them involved serious and life-threatening emergencies.
But they also had to deal with timewasters ‘day in day out’ and because there was no law against wasting ambulance time, there was no deterrent.
They urged the public to call 999 only in cases of genuine emergency.
Director of operations Ged Blezard said: ‘Our call centre staff work very hard and play a vital role in the care of our patients. There are people alive today because of their actions.’