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Ambulance service answers 4,200 calls on day of heat and thunderstorms

By Nick Humphreys | News | Published:

Paramedics had an "extremely busy" day and night of storms, with more than 4,200 calls made to the ambulance service amid the thunder and lightning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service took 4,275 calls, and responded to 3,484 incidents on Wednesday as a sweltering day was followed by torrential rain. Crews will have received multiple calls about some incidents.

It comes after the Welsh Ambulance Service said it had its busiest day of the year since January 1, recording 1,495 incidents.

In the West Midlands, the service was more than 10 per cent busier than the same day last year, and nearly 29 per cent busier than what it is contracted to provide. The service is contracted to respond to 2,706 incidents based on historical data, but responded to 3,484.

But despite the demand, West Midlands Ambulance Service met its mean target times for call outs.

It is targeted to get to category one incidents in seven minutes, but did it on average in six minutes and 43 seconds. Category two incidents should be attended in 18 minutes, but the service made it in 15 minures and 40 seconds on average. And category three calls, which should be attended within an hour, had paramedics on the scene in 52 minutes and 16 seconds.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Yesterday was an extremely busy day for the service, as so often proves to be the case when the temperatures rise significantly. It is testament to all of our staff that we still managed to achieve such excellent performance across the region and ensure we provided the best level of patient care possible.

"The hotter it gets the more people struggle with breathing difficulties, dehydration and it can lead to various other conditions, particularly in the elderly, things such as people feinting or getting confused. It really is important that people drink enough during these hot days and try to keep as cool as possible. We would also urge anyone with elderly relatives or neighbours to spend five minutes just checking they are ok and have everything they need.”

Meanwhile, in Wales, people were urged to keep themselves safe and use 999 responsibly.

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Lee Brooks, the Welsh Ambulance Service's director of operations, said: “Contrary to popular belief, demand on our ambulance service actually fell during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s fair to say that normal business has resumed with regards demand.

“Yesterday was our busiest day of 2020 so far after New Year’s Day, and the hot weather no doubt played a part in that.

“In high temperatures, more people call 999 with breathing difficulties and chest pain or because they feel faint and dizzy, but it can also make people’s pre-existing conditions, like asthma or hay fever, worse.

“The sunshine also draws a large crowd to our beaches and rivers, where accidents and mishaps in the water can occur.

“Through all of this, our crews show up and deliver the best possible care for those who need us, often in full PPE.

“Our plea today and every day is to use 999 responsibly so that we can be there for those who need us most."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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