A Midlands ambulance service has been singled out for praise in a Government report on winter pressures performance.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was highlighted in the Department of Health paper as a trust which exceeded performance targets for 999 calls.

It was also praised for its work with trusts in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Birmingham and the Black Country on standardising admission escalation plans.

The service's capacity management team, based in Dudley, have been at the forefront of developing such strategies at acute hospitals in the region, to assist with increased emergency admissions.

Mark Curran, head of capacity management, said: "The introduction of escalation plans has enabled local health services to have a joined up approach to managing them effectively.

"The quick access to information assisted local services in moving patients quickly through the system and helped to minimise delays during the winter months."

Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service has also been commended for its excellence in an independent assessment report.

The trust has been accredited to level 2 of the Ambulance Risk Management Standard by achieving 100 per cent in four of the eight areas inspected.

Success in infection control, risk assessment and management, incident reporting and management, plus employee competence could help the trust earn a maximum threestar rating in the summer.

Russell Hamilton, trust chief executive, said: "This is a national NHS quality standard for risk management. The achievement comes as the result of lots of hard work within the trust, however we must not become complacent.

"It is important that we continue to maintain these high standards and begin working towards next year's assessment."