Midlands paramedics are under "extreme pressure" to provide emergency care as 999 calls have reached unprecedented levels at weekends.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has recorded a ten per cent increase in life-threatening calls, with 350 calls received in a sixhour period last Sunday, set against the same period last year.
On average WMAS receive 1,200 calls every day and more than 38,000 calls each month.
Ambulance service spokesperson Trevor Ford said despite the demand, paramedics strive to meet its statutory targets for answering and responding to calls, although the pressures will be extreme in the run-up to the festive season.
He said: "We are seeing the busiest weekends across the region. It is certainly a challenge for front line ambulance staff.
"Increased calls reflect the time of year and the current round of winter illness, particularly afflicting the elderly.
"The GP out of hours system is relatively new, with the public yet to be engaged by the initiative.
"Finally, I suspect 999 is a number synonymous with rapid medical response, together with professional care and attention."
The message the ambulance service wish to send to the public is to only dial 999 for life-threatening emergencies.
For less urgent conditions, it may be more appropriate for the public to consider contacting other agencies such as NHS Direct, the local pharmacy, doctor, dentist or The Samaritans.