Ambulance services 'stretched to limit' amid huge demand

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it is struggling to cope with demand. Credit: ITV News

One of Britain's biggest ambulance services has told ITV News it is stretched to its limits, a week after A&E waiting times reached record levels.

Staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service said they do not know how they will be able to continue to cope with demand as they regularly receive more than 3,000 calls a day.

On Saturday, that number was 3,550 - their fourth busiest day ever.

Around the country, many other services are also feeling the strain: North West Ambulance Service took 3,973 calls on the same day and says it has experienced its busiest fortnight ever.

The service took 3,550 calls on Saturday alone. Credit: ITV News

The East of England received 3,278 calls on Saturday, with incidents up 12% on the same week last year.

Health workers are blaming the surge on a "perfect storm" of cold weather, unnecessary call outs and alcohol-related injuries during the Christmas party season.

The only other time the West Midlands team has been this busy is on New Year's Eve - and they are expecting things to get even worse next weekend.

The NHS has received £700 million from the Department of Health to deal with additional demand this winter, but bosses at the service are also urging the public do their part.

We need to make sure that the general public do look after their ambulance service to ensure that those frontline resources are able to respond to those life-threatening emergencies.

Nathan Hudson, West Midlands Ambulance Service