AMBULANCE chiefs have raised concern after receiving a record number of emergency calls in a single day.
The number of 999 calls to West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) topped out at 5,001 on Monday – the first time they had ever reached the 5,000 mark.
New Years Day is traditionally the busiest day of the year, and the previous busiest day was on January 1, 2017, when 4,628 calls were received.
But Sunday (March 4) was the third busiest day ever for WMAS, with 4,451 emergency calls received, prompting concern from bosses as to why.
Trust chief executive Anthony Marsh said: “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.
“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.
“We will be looking into the cases to try and work out whether there are any patterns or reasons behind such rises.”
Mr Marsh also spoke of the pressure the so-called Beast from the East had put on the service.
“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. For this I am sorry.
“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, regularly going above and beyond what could reasonably have been expected to ensure patients got the care they needed. Many staff volunteered to do additional overtime shifts, while others stayed late or started earlier to help out.
“Whether it is staff in our control rooms, on the frontline, maintaining and servicing the vehicles, ensuring consumables got through to hubs despite the weather; each member of my staff has done everything possible to ensure patient care was maintained at the highest level.
“I would also like to thank the many volunteers such as our community first responders, 4×4 organisations and members of the public who have helped us over recent days. The sense of community has been extraordinary; seeing such generosity shows just how ‘Great’, Britain really is.”