The chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service has praised his staff after figures showed the service had its busiest day on January 1.

Barry Johns said staff coped "magnificently" with an unprecedented 1,854 emergency calls on new Year's Day, 157 more than January 1 last year.

The number of violent attacks attended by paramedic crews rose significantly, according to a service spokesman, with staff called to 176 assaults and 28 stabbings.

Despite bringing in additional staff, the ambulance service recorded a significant rise in the number of calls over the Christmas period as well, with an average of 1,150 daily responses between December 23 to 27.

Mr Johns said: "We anticipated the holiday period would be an extremely busy time for the ambulance service. WMAS responded to a daily average of over 1,000 calls over the Christmas period.

"New Year was always going to be a difficult time and I am pleased to report that our staff were magnificent in dealing with a record number of calls on New Year's Day."

Ambulance service bosses were last night unable to confirm whether new 24-hour licensing laws had triggered a rise in calls.