West Midlands Ambulance Service bosses say they are struggling to cope as more people are dialling 999 to report minor injuries such as stubbed toes, nose bleeds and paper cuts.
Ambulance bosses have urged people to use their service sensibly after receiving more than 2,000 calls last Monday.
That figure is more than it received on New Year’s Eve last year, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.
The service said they were experiencing enormous pressure after a dramatic rise in the number of 999 calls, with 1,038 incidents reported in Birmingham and the Black Country alone.
West Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive Anthony Marsh said staff were performing “near miracles” to keep the 999 service as safe as possible.
He said: “Our crews are working long hours and doing everything they can to ensure people in need of our services get the care that they need but we need the help of the population of the West Midlands. Unless your condition is of an urgent nature that requires an immediate medical response, please consider whether you need to dial 999.”
Mr Marsh added that too many calls were from people for conditions such as stubbed toes, paper cuts and people who say they have chest pains when it is in fact their stomach.
He said: “Our staff are all too often left stunned when they arrive at an address and find a patient who has a minor condition, could have got treatment at a range of facilities other than a hospital A&E department, and could just as easily have taken themselves or got a family member to take them for that treatment. For every call like this, it means it is more difficult for us to get ambulances to people in genuine need such as those with heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening conditions.”
Birmingham and the Black Country reported 42 more incidents on Monday compared with last New Year’s Eve, with Coventry and Warwickshire seeing a six per cent rise with 318 incidents.
Staffordshire topped the table with a 17 per cent rise with 434 calls, while Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire saw a 2.8 per cent drop with 343 calls.
Mr Marsh said: “Winter is always a busy time and many of the patients we see are absolutely genuine and need our care. Unfortunately there are many who should be using other parts of the NHS.”