Shropshire Star

Calls to 111 sky-rocket in the West Midlands by almost 80 per cent as emergency calls fall

Calls to 111 have sky-rocketed by almost 80 per cent across the region over the New Year period whilst 999 calls fell, ambulance chiefs have said.

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Health leaders revealed 16,694 non-emergency calls were made to West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) between December 31 and January 2.

It represented an increase of 78.5 per cent from the 9,351 in 2021-2022 and comes after a plea was made for people to use 111 services where possible.

Meanwhile, the number of 999 calls made fell over the period with 13,113 calls made, a drop of 15.1 per cent from the 15,440 recorded the year before.

And it marked the quietest New Year's Eve period – between 6pm on December 31 to 6am on January 1 – for the service, with the service taking 1,710 calls – down from the 3,002 the previous year, the busiest ever.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "I would like to start by thanking the hundreds of staff who worked over this period, many giving up time with their family and friends to work additional shifts. It’s not just those on the road, but also the team in our control rooms and also the staff who support these colleagues in areas such as vehicle preparation, mechanics, stores, distribution and IT; it is a real team effort.

“I would also like to thank the public for heeding our requests that they use services such as 111 online ( , speaking to a pharmacist or their GP and only using the 999 service is a patient is critically unwell or there is a risk to life.

“This has been an incredibly challenging period for all parts of the NHS. The ambulance service relies on each part of the health and social care system working together so that our ambulances can get to patients in the community quickly. Sadly, the pressures we are seeing in health and social care lead to long hospital handover delays with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital rather than responding to the next call. The result is that our crews are delayed reaching patients.

“We are working incredibly hard with all of our NHS and social care partners to prevent these delays, looking at new ways to safely hand over patients quickly so that our crews can respond more rapidly and save more lives.”

People have been advised use NHS111 online at if they have a less serious condition, or they should speak to their GP or pharmacist.

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