West Midlands Ambulance crews had their busiest day ever with more than 5,000 emergency calls received following arctic conditions across the region.
A total of 5,001 calls were made to the emergency service on Monday, March 5, as temperatures finally began to rise after the UK was hit by Storm Emma and the Beast from the East.
This easily surpassed the next busiest day which was January 1, 2017 – when 4,628 people phoned for help.
Ambulance service bosses are concerned about the latest spike however as it followed Sunday, March 4 when there were 4,451 calls making it the third busiest day on record.
The service has already drafting in more staff and resources because of last week’s severe cold and snow .
It is now analysing the data to see if this is an ongoing trend or an unusual spike in demand which will tail off.
They are also urging people only to call 999 in a genuine emergency and to consider using other NHS services for less serious problems.
Ambulance Trust chief executive Anthony Marsh, said: “These are unprecedented call numbers; astonishingly, demand was almost 20 per cent 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.”
He added: “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.”