MORE than 1,000 people in the West Midlands have applied to become lifesavers in just three days.

Together with hundreds of students, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is enacting unprecedented plans to protect the public and save lives.

Over recent weeks, WMAS has increased the number of call assessors in both the 999 and 111 control rooms, but last weekend asked for applications to increase that number further.

WMAS are now fast tracking those applications with dozens of interviews being held.

In addition, the Trust has been working with local university partners at Staffordshire, Coventry, Worcester, Wolverhampton and Birmingham City to recruit around 200 third year paramedic students.

These are students who are just weeks away from qualifying and have spent thousands of hours on our ambulances, working with our staff, treating patients.

All of them will work with fully qualified paramedics and technicians on the road.

As of Monday, this has allowed the WMAS to double the number of ambulances operating from the Bromsgrove Hub, where they have gone from 20 crews a day to 40.

A further 130 second year university graduate paramedics have also been taken on to work as assistants to vehicle preparation operatives.

Emergency services operations delivery director, Nathan Hudson, said the student additions have been very appreciated.

"We are receiving huge support from our university students who are desperate to do their part to help the nation at this time," said Nathan.

"Many are already very familiar to our staff and the response we have had from the team at Bromsgrove has been incredible with the students made to feel very welcome.

"These students would have qualified over the next few weeks as HCPC registered paramedics so are a tremendous asset for us and I have no doubt that they will help to save many lives over the coming weeks.

"I am incredibly proud of the students and also our staff for doing the right thing to help patients."

Trust chief executive, Anthony Marsh, added: "We are dealing with a global pandemic and a national emergency.

"COVID-19 presents the NHS with arguably the greatest challenge it has faced since its creation.

"I am committed to doing everything necessary to protect the public and save lives.

"Seeing the lengths that our staff are going to, to help people has never made me feel prouder to lead such an organisation.

"We have taken difficult decisions in recent weeks and will continue to do everything necessary to ensure we protect the 999 service, but it is vital that the public help us.

"The message is clear, stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives."