West Midlands Ambulance Service takes more than 3,000 ‘999’ calls every single day and we’re getting busier.
When you call 999, its our control room staff in our two Emergency Operations Centres in Stafford and Brierley Hill who will answer you. Each call is categorised to ensure patients get the most appropriate response to their clinical needs. However, many people still think we take every patient to hospital – the reality is very different! Around 5% of our calls are actually dealt with on the phone when you call 999. When our staff respond by ambulance to a 999 call, they treat the majority of patients at the scene with only around 50% actually needing further treatment in A&E or at another treatment unit.
With more than 460 ambulances, the Trust’s fleet has the highest percentage of traditional double-crewed ambulances in the country. Of those, 15 ambulances have 4×4 capability and all of our response cars are 4×4 capable too. As well as ambulances, all of our paramedic officers respond in 4×4 cars, we have access to five air ambulances, there are over 750 community first responders (CFRs) and other specialist resources such as the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, doctors and mental health cars every single day.
Our fleet and front-line staff respond from 15 ambulance hubs across the region. We are the only ambulance service to have a paramedic on every vehicle. We are achieving this by recruiting graduate paramedics from university, many of whom will have completed their practical placements with us. In addition, we provide additional training for existing staff and we also run an incredibly successful student paramedic programme.
Our regular frontline staff receive assistance from a number of specialist staff and an ‘army’ of volunteers.
Our Hazardous Area Response Team is one of 15 in the country (alongside a Welsh and Scottish team) . This team of specialist paramedics are able to operate in challenging and often dangerous situations such as collapsed buildings, in fast moving water, working at height, supporting firefighter as they tackle burning buildings and also deal with patients suffering from the effects of explosions or chemical or biological incidents.
We are supported by a fantastic network of volunteers; hundreds of people from all walks of life give up their time to help the people in their own towns and villages by becoming a Community First Responder. The number of people alive today because of their actions rises every year. Providing early defibrillation can be truly lifesaving.
We are also assisted by a host of voluntary organisations such as BASICS doctors, water-based rescue teams and 4×4 organisations.
We have access to five air ambulances, the highest number of any service in the country. Three are provided by the Midlands Air Ambulance charity at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, Strensham Service on the M5 in Worcestershire and at Tatenhill Airfield in Staffordshire, the other two are provided by The Air Ambulance Service based in Coventry and Nottingham East Midlands Airports.
The wealth and breadth of experience and vast knowledge of our staff means that we can deliver the right patient care, in the right place, at the right time.