DRUNKEN “disgraceful” louts are using ambulances as a “glorified taxi service”, a shocked councillor will tell the Health Secretary.

Highly skilled ambulance staff are having their time wasted on “frivolous” call-outs, Wycombe District Council Chairman Bill Bendyshe-Brown said after a night shadowing a crew.

He was so shocked by what he saw on December 3, a Friday night, he is writing to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to voice his concerns.

Most of the 999 calls the crews attended were “intoxicated people who had injured themselves through their own over indulgence”, Cllr Bendyshe-Brown said.

He said: “I have to say that I was shocked by what I witnessed.

“Here we had two highly skilled and qualified ambulance crew and a very expensive and fully kitted out ambulance vehicle.

“What they had to attend was nothing short of disgraceful.

"They were being called on an emergency number to attend, by and large, by intoxicated people who had injured themselves through their own over indulgence.

“The weather was atrocious and the crew had no authority to turn away frivolous emergency calls.

“The service was being treated as nothing more than a glorified taxi service which is outrageous.”

He praised the crews at a WDC meeting on Monday night.

The South Central Ambulance Service NHS trust staff he shadowed were High Wycombe Operations Manager Ronnie Robertson, Technician Alex King and Emergency Care Assistant Sam Whitby.

The trust has urged the public to seriously consider if their call is an emergency before calling 999, especially considering the winter weather.

The trust issued this advice: “It may be that an alternative course of action is more suitable, particularly if you have a minor injury or illness or are suffering from winter ailments such as coughs, colds and flu.”

Anyone taken ill and not suffering from a life threatening emergency but requiring medical advice or treatment should contact the following organisations: Call NHS Direct 24/7 on 0845 46 47, Your Out of Hours GP Service, Local Walk In Centre / Minor Injuries Unit, Pharmacies.