1. ITV Report

Heat brings more 999 calls

Big increase in West Midlands Ambulance Service call outs Photo: ITV Central News

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it has been at full stretch dealing with emergency calls during the heatwave.

Now it's asking people to think before they dial 999. It says its ability to protect the most seriously ill and injured may end up being compromised.

it's asking everyone to consider whether they really need an ambulance.

On Friday and saturday the service dealt with approximately 2,500 incidents.

Percentage increase on last year:

Birmingham (Friday) 23% (Saturday) 11.7%

Black Country (Friday) 17.2% (Saturday) 28.6%

Coventry & Warks (Friday) 16.1% (Saturday) 10.4%

Staffordshire (Friday) 15.1% (Saturday) 11%

West Mercia (Friday) 20.4% (Saturday) 31.3%

But the service’s single busiest hour was between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday 27th May when it received 213 emergency ‘999’ calls - busier than an average hour on New Year’s Eve.

The main cause of the increase was chest pains and breathing difficulties but there was also an increase in inappropriate calls, it says, including alcohol-related incidents of assault and irresponsible behaviour.

“The ambulance service is there for life-threatening conditions and emergencies such as choking, chest pain, a stroke, serious blood loss or a state of unconsciousness but inappropriate calling can delay our response to those in genuine need.

“The more minor cases can be treated quickly and effectively by other areas of the NHS such as NHS Direct, a local pharmacy, walk-in centre or GP who all operate an out-of-hours service.”

– Mark Gough, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, WMAS