AMBULANCE crews received five 999 calls a minute during a busy New Year's Eve.

During the last few hours of 2012, the number of 999 calls steadily increased towards midnight. In the last four hours of 2012 (from 8pm to midnight), the West Midlands Ambulance Service received 638 calls, an increase of 15 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Of these calls 46 came from Worcestershire and six from Herefordshire.

As with previous years it was the start of the New Year that the numbers began to increase more rapidly with the peak rate of calls coming in between 1am and 4am. A large proportion of the calls were for alcohol-related incidents including fights, assaults, falls and overdoses. After midnight, the trust saw demand on the ambulance service increase with an average of five 999 calls every 60 seconds.

In the first five hours of 2013, the service received 1291 calls, a 9 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Of these calls, 108 came from Worcestershire and 32 from Herefordshire.

To help free-up availability of ambulances and capacity at A&E departments, a Temporary Minor Injury Unit (TMIU) operated in Birmingham for the sixth year running. The TMIU provided immediate treatment for patients who had suffered alcohol intoxication and other minor illnesses and injuries, patients that are not likely to be admitted after assessment in A&E.

Staffed by West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics, technicians, nurses and doctors, St John Ambulance volunteers, British Red Cross volunteers and Community First Responders, the TMIU treated more than 80 people during the celebrations, dramatically reducing A&E attendances.

Chief executive Anthony Marsh said: “It comes as no surprise to us that New Years’ Eve has been the busiest nights of the year for the ambulance service. It is a year in the planning for which as many staff as possible work through the night to ensure patient’s get help when they need it the most.

“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.”

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