Tuesday 6th March 2018 – 11.45am – Murray MacGregor.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has experienced its busiest day ever.
Yesterday, demand spiked to a new high with emergency call numbers topping out at 5,001; this is the first time it has ever reached the 5,000 mark. As you can see in the graph above demand was higher than what would have been expected from 7 o’clock in the morning onwards.
To put this into context, the next busiest day, 1st January 2017 only saw 4,628 calls, some 373 calls less. New Years Day is traditionally the busiest day of the year.
However, what is also of concern is that Sunday 4th March was the third busiest day ever, with 4,451 emergency calls received.
Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “These are unprecedented call numbers; astonishingly, demand was almost 20% 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.
“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.”