Ambulance service has ‘busiest day ever’

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An ambulance battled through the conditions as the snow began to fall again last Friday afternoon. Photo: Mark Williamson

WEST Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) experienced its busiest day ever on Monday.

Demand spiked to a new high with emergency call numbers topping out at 5,001 – the first time it has ever reached the 5,000 mark. 

Sunday was the third busiest day ever, with 4,451 emergency calls received.

The previous busiest day was 1st January, 2017, with 4,628 calls. New Year’s Day is traditionally the busiest day of the year.

WMAS chief executive, Anthony Marsh, said:“An increase in cases due to the snow was expected but the fact that call numbers have spiked upwards so sharply since that period is very worrying.

West Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive, Anthony Marsh.

“These are unprecedented call numbers; astonishingly, demand was almost 20 per cent higher than we would have expected.

“It is a huge concern that so many people have seemingly ignored other NHS services and felt the need to dial 999.

“We will be looking into the cases to try and work out whether there are any patterns or reasons behind such rises.

“Due to the snow, we had already put considerably more resources on duty than we would normally have done at this time, yet this was still not enough to deal with all of the cases in a timely manner.

“Although we were able to resource all of the most serious incidents, unfortunately, some patients with less serious conditions did wait much longer than we would have wanted.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to the staff who have worked tirelessly over recent days, many staff volunteered to do additional overtime shifts, while others stayed late or started earlier to help out.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service covers a geographical area of approximately 5,000 square miles and serves a population of 5.6 million people living in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the Birmingham and the Black Country conurbation.

It has 4,000 members of staff and uses 864 vehicles.