Being unable to remove false nails and seeking treatment for a sick dog are just some of the “inappropriate” reasons why people attend A&E, according to research.
A new campaign is urging people to go to the right place for NHS treatment after figures suggested as many as a quarter of those attending A&E could care for themselves or use alternative treatment.
Other bizarre examples include a woman asking for help after a hair-dye disaster, another wanting someone to cut her toenails because she could not get a chiropody appointment and a man who dialled 999 because he was suffering from constipation.
One mother took her child to A&E because they had stepped in dog excrement and she wanted staff to clean it off while another woman called 999 because she had diarrhoea.
A further woman asked staff to remove paint stuck in her hair while another said her hand had turned blue - it turned out to be dye from her jeans.
One man requested an ambulance after being bitten on his finger by guinea pig while another went to A&E because he had a hangover.
Across England, unnecessary A&E attendances are estimated to cost at least £80 million to £100 million a year.
The “Choose Well” campaign features short films of these scenarios played by actors and are available on YouTube and through social media.
Dr Mike Cheshire, medical director at NHS North West, which is co-ordinating the national campaign, said: “The tales told in the videos are very funny and they are extreme cases, but there are very serious issues behind them.”
Dr Cheshire said unnecessary attendances “put an enormous and unnecessary strain on the NHS, and not just in financial terms.
“Every minute that an A&E doctor or nurse spends treating very minor problems reduces the time they can spend attending to those who have suffered heart attacks, strokes and life-threatening injuries.”
Every attendance at A&E in the UK costs a minimum of £59.