The number of emergency calls for ambulances in the West Midlands has increased by nearly 150,000 in a year.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust received more than 1.2 million emergency phone calls in the 12 months to July 2018, new figures have revealed.

That was up by 143,385 compared to the 12 months to July 2017.

The increase - of 13 per cent - was the biggest of any trust in the country.

The data came from a Freedom of Information request made by euroClinix, a private healthcare provider.

 

It showed that the busiest single month for the Trust during the two-year period was December 2017, with 112,973 calls.

That was up from 99,495 in December 2016.

A spokesperson at euroClinix said: “We made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to gather information from ambulance trusts around the UK.

“Of the 13 trusts contacted, 11 responded.

“We found that many regions had seen an increase in calls since 2016.

“Overall, the data showed the incredible feats performed by our NHS ambulance staff, but also the increasingly concerning strain they are being put under.”

 

When to call 999

Life-threatening emergencies

Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Medical emergencies can include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • an acute confused state
  • fits that aren't stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that can't be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds

Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.

Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma, such as after a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height, or a serious head injury.

What happens when I call 999?

 

If it's a genuine emergency, where someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, call 999 and don't panic.

You can contact emergency services via SMS if you're deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment.

Visit the  emergencySMS  website for more information or to register your phone.

1. Answer the questions

Once you're connected to a call handler, you'll have to answer a series of questions to establish what's wrong, such as:

  • Where are you (including the area or postcode)?
  • What phone number are you calling from?
  • What has happened?

This will allow the operator to determine the most appropriate response as quickly as possible.

Dialling 999 doesn't necessarily mean an ambulance will be dispatched. The call handler will decide what's appropriate.

It may be safe enough for you to be seen elsewhere, or you can be given telephone advice by a medically trained clinical adviser.

An ambulance will be sent if it's a life-threatening emergency.

Response units that could be dispatched include:

  • an emergency ambulance
  • a rapid response vehicle or motorbike
  • a cycle response unit
  • a community first responder
  • a combination of the above
 

2. Don't hang up yet

Ambulance stock image

 

Wait for a response from the ambulance control room. They might have further questions for you, such as:

  • What's the age, gender and medical history of the patient?
  • Is the person awake or conscious and breathing?
  • Is there any serious bleeding or chest pain?
  • What is the injury and how did it happen?

The person handling your call will let you know when they have all the information they need.

You might also be given instructions about how to give first aid until the ambulance arrives.

 

How you can assist the ambulance crew

The West Midlands Ambulance Service were called to the smash.

 

There are a number of things you can do to assist the ambulance service.

For example, stay calm and:

  • if you're in the street, stay with the patient until help arrives
  • call the ambulance service back if the patient's condition changes
  • call the ambulance service back if your location changes
  • if you're calling from home or work, ask someone to open the door and direct the paramedics to where they're needed
  • lock away family pets
  • if you can, write down the patient's GP details and collect any medication they're taking
  • if you can, tell the paramedics about any allergies the patient has

If appropriate, you may want to call the patient's GP. The GP may meet you at the A&E department, or call with important information about the patient.