Jail for ex-nurse whose time-wasting tied up ambulance for four hours

Jail for ex-nurse whose time-wasting tied up ambulance for four hours

AN ex-nurse from Ballymena whose time-wasting with emergency services tied up an ambulance for four hours has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

Court News NI reports that Denise Gray (59), of High Street, appeared via video link from Hydebank Prison at Ballymena Magistrates' Court last Thursday.

In 2019 following around 200 incidents of making nuisance calls to the emergency services she was given a three year ASBO in relation to non-emergency 999 contact.

She has now admitted breaching the ASBO on several occasions including contacting the Ambulance Service 'without cause' on June 15 this year.

The court heard Gray had called 999 and when an ambulance arrived at her home she refused to travel to hospital.

A prosecutor said the ambulance had to "remain on scene for just under four hours, placing significant pressure on the Ambulance Service".

Defence barrister Neil Moore accepted it had been an "outrageous" incident.

He said Gray is an alcoholic with "mental health issues" and she phones the emergency services "because, quite tragically, she has nobody else to speak to".

At court in 2019 a defence lawyer had said the "irony" was that Gray had previously worked as a nurse in England and had been subjected to disruptive patients during her career.

Jailing Gray for the latest offences, District Judge Nigel Broderick said he accepted she had "struggles" but it was a serious offence to "tie up emergency services that are finite".

He added the involvement of an ambulance at a scene "where it was not required for a period of four hours is a particularly aggravating feature given what we know in terms of the pressures that are currently on the Health Service in general and the Ambulance Service in particular".

The defendant had bail of £500 fixed to appeal her sentence but her lawyer said she did not wish to be released from custody ahead of the next County Court.

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