Ambulance crews face frenetic start to New Year

Wednesday 02 January 2013 Updated: 02/01 20:58

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MORE than 100 calls were made to paramedics in the first five hours of the New Year.

Staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service received 108 emergency calls from Worcestershire between 12am and 5am on January 1, with a further 46 calls made between 8pm and midnight on New Year's Eve (December 31).

This compares to just 40 made in neighbouring Herefordshire over the same nine hours.

A statement from WMAS said in the last four hours of 2012, the service as a whole received 638 calls - a 15 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

After midnight, number began to increase more rapidly to an average of five 999 calls every minute. A large proportion of them were relating to alcohol-related incidents including fights, assaults, falls and overdoses.

Chief executive Anthony Marsh said it came as 'no surprise' it had been one of the busiest nights of the year for the service.

"It is a year in the planning for which as many staff as possible work through the night to ensure patients get help when they need it the most," he added.

"The way in which the service deals with this traditionally busy night is a tribute to all the staff and volunteers who work through the night, often without the chance of a break.

"I am very proud of my staff and volunteers who gave up their night to ensure the safety of everyone in the West Midlands, regardless of whether or not they spent the night celebrating the coming of the New Year."

But police recorded 14 per cent fewer 999 calls in West Mercia on December 31 and January 1 compared to the same period the previous year - although volumes were similar when taking into account non-emergency calls.

Between 7pm on New Year's Eve and 7am the following days, there were a total of 536 emergency calls across the force, this peaked between 2am and 3am when there were 102 calls - equating to one every 36 seconds.

A spokesman said: "However the number of calls made to the police overall was roughly the same. This is attributed to greater use of the emergency number 101, which was introduced in West Mercia at the end of 2011 and advertised nationally, leading to greater public awareness of how to contact the police in non-emergency situations."

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