Happy New Year


Friday 1st January 2016 – 5.25am – Chris Kowalik.

Hundreds of West Midlands Ambulance Service staff gave up their New Year to ensure the public had a happy and safe night.

More ambulance crews were on duty for a New Year than ever before for such a night.

It meant the ambulance service was in a strong position to deal with the expected influx of calls and, as expected there was a steady increase in those calls in the last four hours of 2015, towards midnight.

Between 8pm and midnight, there were 634 ‘999’ calls, an increase of nearly 7% on the same period a year earlier.

The local breakdown of calls was as follows:

Birmingham 145

Black Country 142

Worcestershire 68

Shropshire 32

Herefordshire 22

Coventry & Warwickshire 86

Staffordshire 123


The first ‘999’ call of 2016 came in just thirty seconds into the New Year. As expected, the busiest hour was between 1am and 2am as more alcohol-related calls came in including assaults, falls and unconscious patients.

From midnight until 4am, there were 995 ‘999’ calls, an increase of 15% on the same period a year earlier.

The local breakdown of calls was as follows:

Birmingham 243

Black Country 215

Worcestershire 68

Shropshire 66

Herefordshire 25

Coventry & Warwickshire 112



A highlight of the night for the ambulance service was the successful resuscitation of a young man who collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest in a nightclub in Birmingham. It happened outside “6 on Broad Street” shortly after 1am. A senior paramedic officer, a community paramedic, an ambulance crew and the MERIT trauma team consisting of a trauma doctor and critical care practitioner attended. They were joined by a British Red Cross Commander and a nurse from the Temporary Minor Injury Unit operating during the night. The man who was in his late teens was delivered a shock by a defibrillator, given advanced life support by the crews which included being anaesthetised and his airway maintained before being taken to City Hospital.

However, also in Birmingham, an ambulance was taken off the road after a window was smashed by would-be thieves who were targeting the vehicle’s built-in satnav. It happened in Elliott Road in the Selly Oak area of the city at approx. 10pm on New Year’s Eve. The ambulance crew were not injured and later continued the rest of their shift in another ambulance.

New Year Smashed ambulance in Birmingham

Picture: West Midlands Ambulance Service

It was the Temporary Minor Injuries Unit’s ninth year in Birmingham city centre. It was based in the Library of Birmingham and provided immediate treatment for patients who had suffered alcohol intoxication and other minor illnesses and injuries; patients that are not likely to be admitted after assessment in A&E. In turn, it helped free-up availability of ambulances and capacity at A&E departments. It was staffed by West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics and emergency medical technicians and volunteers from British Red Cross and St John Ambulance.

Combined with the City Centre Treatment Unit normally provided every weekend in Birmingham’s Broad Street, a total of 33 patients were seen, 22 of whom were treated and discharged at the scene. 11 were transferred to hospital.

Unfortunately, one of the volunteers working at the Temporary Minor Injuries Unit was spat at and the offender was arrested by police.

Paramedic Officer Jason Wiles said: “It was a busy night but we managed because of our planning and the help of our partner agencies.”

Meanwhile in Shrewsbury, West Midlands Ambulance Service, along with Community First Responders, St John Ambulance volunteers and the street pastors, ran the town’s first Temporary Minor Injury Unit.

Paramedic Officer Cliff Medlicott who was running the unit said: “We dealt with some alcohol-related patients, one of whom ultimately needed to go to A&E, others we helped on their way home.”

And in Hereford, an Emergency Care Practitioner and an Emergency Medical Technician were at ‘Emilia’s’ to join the city’s street pastors in running a temporary minor injuries unit. Nine patients were seen at the unit, eight of which were treated and discharged. Only one, who had a head injury, went on to A&E.

Emergency Care Practitioner Patrick Vennard said: “We worked well with the street pastors. It was a very smooth operation and, potentially, we have kept eight patients out of A&E.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “I am very grateful and very proud of all my staff that worked through the year and through the night to keep everyone safe, putting the public before themselves and their families.

“I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.”


Notes to Editors:

Interview requests – Interviews may be possible from 9.00am onwards on New Year’s Day only. Contact the duty press officer by email: pressoffice@wmas.nhs.uk

The press office reopens on Monday 4th January for day-to-day regular enquiries.

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