Staffordshire paramedics are nearing breaking point as demand for emergency services has reached a critical level.
The number of 999 calls received by paramedics in Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire has risen by more than a third (34 per cent) - resulting in 60 extra calls a day.
Across the county, the number of emergency calls received was up by 26 per cent - an additional 91 calls a day - compared to the same period last year.
Demand peaked between October 7 and October 9, when an average of 800 calls a day were being taken by control centre staff.
The problem got so bad that one of the region's major A&E centres - Stoke's University Hospital of North Staffordshire - almost had to close the doors on incoming patients.
Senior paramedic officer Adrian Gibson, Staffordshire Ambulance Service's assistant director of distribution, said this was "unprecedented" for this time of year.
"Throughout the period, there has been close liaison with the all differing hospitals that we use," he said.
"But the total number of patients arriving at University Hospital North Staffordshire A&E department nearly overwhelmed the hospital's resources, with the real possibility of hospitals considering having to close the door to further emergency patients.
"Instead, patients were taken to surrounding hospitals in Stafford, Crewe and Macclesfield.
"During this period, our paramedic crews continued to maintain their high level of eight minutes, responding immediately to all emergency calls for help."
Paramedic officers, managers and even the trust's chief executive, Roger Thayne, were diverted from their usual duties to crew ambulances or emergency response cars.
Mr Gibson said: " The ambulance service was just one step from declaring a major incident, when it placed its on duty staff, all off duty management and paramedic officers on major incident standby."
Mr Thayne has requested an urgent meeting with hospital and NHS bosses within the North Staffordshire Emergency Care Network.