News : West Midlands Ambulance Service Calls See ‘Staggering' Surge
Dec 29, 2014 -- Ambulance staff are under pressure from an "extraordinary" surge in 999 calls, the West Midlands Ambulance Service says.
New figures from the service show that demand across the three days of the festive weekend (Friday 26 – Sunday 29th) showed a double digit rise over last year, with some areas hit by staggering spikes in demand. Saturday December 27 the sixth busiest day ever in the service's history.
Friday: demand was up 14.1 per cent – call numbers reached 3,273 compared to 2,869 for the same day in 2013.
Saturday: demand was up 15.4 per cent – 3,551 calls compared to 3,043.
Sunday: demand was up 10.6 per cent – 3,145 calls compared to 2,976
On Friday, the Trust saw demand up 21 per cent in the Black Country and Staffordshire. Saturday say a 34 per cent rise (year on year) in Coventry & Warwickshire, 26 per cent in Herefordshire and 23 per cent in the Black Country. While Sunday was slightly less pressured, the trust still saw demand peaks of almost 19 per cent in Herefordshire and 11 per cent in Staffordshire and Shropshire.
With hospitals across the region being similarly hit with very high demand, ambulance bosses are urging everyone think before dialling 999 and put self care at the forefront. Far too many people are still asking for assistance with colds and flu like symptoms which can be dealt with at home, they say.
WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: "Firstly, I would like to thank my staff for the astonishing effort they have put in, not only over the last few days, but over the last few weeks. No fewer than 10 of the 20 busiest days we have ever had have come in December 2014.
"Having been out and about on the road and in our control rooms I know the pressures that the staff have been under and it is a mark of their dedication that they continue to provide such a high quality of care in very difficult circumstances.
"I would also pay tribute to the many staff who support our frontline crews such as the mechanics, stores staff, ambulance fleet assistants who prepare the vehicles, hospital liaison staff, non-urgent patient transport, the officers who support these staff and the many others who carry out additional roles. It is a team effort and they should not be forgotten.
"Also I my thanks must go to the staff in the 111 call centre who have also had an incredibly busy time over recent weeks. They have been able to divert many calls that might previously come to the 999 service to other parts of the NHS."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About West Midlands Ambulance Service:
The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) is the second-largest ambulance service in the UK. It is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
Published: Wednesday, December 31, 2014