It is a common view, shared by Emergency Department staff and ambulance crews, that a large number of patients unnecessarily use Emergency Service ambulances instead of transporting themselves to the hospital by other, more appropriate means. In this retrospective study, 528 consecutive Emergency Service calls to the Herlev Hospital Casualty/Emergency Department during a six week period were reviewed for relevance. Attention was solely aimed at the relevance of the use of Emergency Service ambulances in each case, but not on patient or health care providers' perception of urgency. All calls resulting in admission to hospital were pre-defined as being relevant. Seventeen point six percent of all calls were deemed irrelevant. Thirty-three percent of all calls not resulting in admission were deemed irrelevant. The results confirm Emergency Department health care providers' and ambulance crews' view that Emergency Service ambulances are used inappropriately by the public.