New figures from West Midlands Ambulance Service show that demand across the three days of the festive weekend showed a double digit rise over last year, with some areas hit by ‘staggering spikes’ in demand, with Saturday being the sixth busiest day ever.
On Friday December 26 demand was up 14.1 per cent. Call numbers reached 3,273 compared to 2,869 for the same day in 2013.
On Saturday December 27 demand was up 15.4 per cent with 3,551 calls, compared to 3,043 on the same day last year.
Demand was up 10.6 per cent on Sunday 28 with 3,145 calls, compared to 2,976 on the same day in 2013.
Saturday saw a 34 per cent rise in demand (year on year) in Coventry and Warwickshire.
With hospitals across the region being similarly hit with very high demand, the Trust is urging people to access their healthcare ‘wisely with self care at the forefront’.
WMAS chief executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank my staff and our volunteers 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.”
Mr Marsh added: “Also 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.”