A Midland ambulance service has met the Government's emergency response targets - despite seeing 999 calls rise by more than ten per cent.

Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service NHS Trust has achieved its key national performance targets for the year to the end of March 2005.

Between April 2004 and last month, the trust received more than 53,000 calls compared with 48,000 in 2003/04.

Russell Hamilton, the chief executive, said: "This achievement is the direct result of considerable hard work and dedication of all the staff at the trust.

"From the call takers to mechanics, paramedics, technicians and managers, everyone has had a part to play this year.

"We are among only a handful of ambulance trusts in the country who have achieved their key targets, and I am very pleased to reassure the people of Herefordshire and Worcestershire that we are able to provide a responsive service despite the challenges of serving a rural population."