AS soon as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, more than 200 ambulances and 100 paramedic officers were on hand to respond to four calls a minute.
The last four hours of 2013 (from 8.00pm – midnight) saw 999 calls steadily increase but it was the start of 2014 which saw demand on the ambulance service increase to an average of four 999 calls every minute.
A large proportion of them being alcohol-related and included assaults, overdoses, road traffic collisions and falls.
The peak rate of calls came in between 1.00am and 2.00am. Between 8.00pm New Year’s Eve and 5.00am New Year’s Day, the Trust responded to 1,875 999 calls. The breakdown is as follows:
Coventry and Warwickshire: 269
Black Country: 389
The Temporary Minor Injuries Unit (TMIU) on Broad Street in Birmingham returned for its 7th year to reduce A&E admissions and free up ambulances for genuinely life threatening cases.
Staffed by WMAS paramedics, technicians, Central Accident Resuscitation Emergency (CARE) Team nurses and doctors, Community First Responders and volunteers from the British Red Cross and St John, the TMIU treated more than 125 people during the NYE celebrations.
Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “It’s thanks to the meticulous planning, hard work and dedication of staff on New Year’s Eve that we’re able to continue to provide patients in the West Midlands with high level care when they need it the most.
“New Year’s Eve is traditionally the busiest night of the year for the ambulance service. This year has been no exception and I am immensely proud of the way the Service has dealt with the surge in 999 calls.
"Thank you to my staff and the many volunteers who have given up their night to ensure the safety of everyone in the West Midlands. I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.”
Incidents of note:
West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the following incidents:
Keelinge Street, Tipton, Dudley (10.56pm)
Intoxicated man in his 40s sustained a serious head injury after reportedly falling down stairs. Two ambulances, a responder paramedic and a MERIT trauma doctor attended the scene. The man was unconscious and due to the nature of his condition and injury, the doctor decided to anaesthetise him on scene. The man was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham; the doctor travelled in the ambulance to continue vital emergency treatment en route.
Callow Hill Rock, Kidderminster (0.55am)
Two vehicle road traffic collision, seven people involved. Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) doctor and ambulance crew attended. Six of the seven occupants were discharged from care with very minor or no injuries after being triaged by the doctor and ambulance crew at the scene. One occupant, a teenage boy, sustained abdominal injuries in the collision. He was given pain relief and fully immobilised before being taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Meon Rise, Pedmore, Stourbridge (1.28am)
Kitchen fire at residential property. Ambulance crew and paramedic area support officer attended. Man suffering with severe difficulty breathing due to the effects of smoke inhalation. Crews gave the man oxygen therapy and conveyed him on blue lights to Russells Hall Hospital for further treatment.
River Wye near Caravan Park, Mordiford, Herefordshire (3.30am)
Reports of woman in river. Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) paramedics, paramedic area support officer, an ambulance crew and a BASICS doctor attended along with police and fire colleagues. A woman was rescued from the river and treated for the effects of hypothermia by ambulance staff before being taken to Hereford Hospital.
A500 Northbound just before Tunstall, Bradwell, Stoke-on-Trent (3.47am)
Pedestrian in collision with car. An ambulance and paramedic area support officer attended the scene. Two off duty ambulance staff came across the incident and stopped to help. The pedestrian, a man in his 20s, sustained a serious head injury and was stabilised on scene before being taken by land ambulance on blue lights to University Hospital North Staffordshire.