WEST Midlands Ambulance Service had its fourth busiest day on record at the weekend.
Saturday night (December 13) saw staff take 3,550 emergency calls, more than the new year’s days in 2010 and 2012.
The only three occasions where the service had received more 999 calls were on January 1 in 2011 (3,822 calls), January 1, 2013 (3,754 calls) and January 1, 2014 (3,726 calls).
The volume has prompted the trust to issue another plea to residents to only call 999 when it is absolutely necessary as the increase puts undue pressure on frontline staff getting to and treating patients and operators taking the calls, trying to decide who needs help the most and the quickest.
And, further down the line, added pressure is also put on already busy and over-stretched staff in A&E departments.
Craig Cooke, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, said: “Our staff are working around the clock to respond to patients but we need the public’s help to ensure we’re preserving our ambulances and highly-skilled staff for the people who need us the most.
“Many people who dial 999 could treat themselves at home or access advice from NHS 111 either online or over the phone. “Equally, people should consider taking themselves to an NHS walk-in centre, pharmacist or a minor injuries unit.
“This would leave the ambulance service to deal with life threatening illness or injury such as chest pain, strokes, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness and severe blood loss.”
He concluded by thanking ambulance staff and volunteers for their efforts.