West Midlands Ambulance Service breaks record for busiest ever day twice in one week

A record number of 999 calls were made to the West Midlands Ambulance Service twice in the last two weeks as the region's paramedics face their busiest ever period.

West Midlands Ambulance Service is hiring extra staff as it faces record demand
West Midlands Ambulance Service is hiring extra staff as it faces record demand

The ambulance service is now launching a recruitment drive to hire extra call handlers and ambulance crews after 19 of its 20 busiest ever days happened in the last month.

The trust received 6,406 emergency calls on Monday - more than any day in the trust's history and 600 more than the previous record which was set the week before.

It is far more than the service received on New Year's Eve, traditionally the busiest night for emergency service, and included the hours after England's penalty shootout Euro 2020 loss to Italy.

The extra positions are being paid for by £5,686,000 of extra funding, which is part of £55 million being given to the ambulance sector across the country by NHS England to boost staff numbers ahead of winter.

The cash is specifically designed to increase the number of 999 call handlers and put additional crews on the road.

It will also provide additional clinical support in control rooms. extend the availability of hospital ambulance liaison officers at the most challenged acute trusts and increase the number of emergency ambulances available for the winter.

Recently there have been reports of people waiting for hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Last month 92 year old Glenys Coombes from Oswestry, had to wait nine hours for an ambulance to arrive after a fall in which she broke her hip and shoulder.

Her family, who were with her, said that she was in excruciating pain throughout the night.

After her fall the service said that demand for ambulances on the day had been 15 per cent higher than the same day last year.

West Midlands Ambulance Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This additional funding is very welcome when all ambulance services are under immense pressure.

“We have already started recruiting for additional call handlers and will work up other schemes that will allow us to make progress on meeting other key standards as soon as possible.

“At the start of the pandemic we were able to recruit hundreds of extra staff who played a key role in our ability to handle the rise in Covid-19 call numbers.

“We had people from all walks of life join us as call handlers - hundreds of students worked on our ambulances and helped to prepare the vehicles.

“Speaking to those staff, I don’t believe any of them would say that they weren’t proud to have helped keep our nation safe.

“Working for the NHS is a real privilege, and I would encourage anyone who wants a great career to think about joining us.”

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