IT WAS a busy Christmas for staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) with almost 23,000 999 calls taken.

Over the five days from December 24 to 28, the trust took no fewer than 22,826 emergency calls compared to 19,467 for the same dates in 2019 – a rise of 17.3 per cent.

The trust compared the data to 2019 as in 2020, much of the West Midlands was in some form of lockdown and therefore the data may not be comparable.

Trust chief executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “I would like to thank the many thousands of staff who worked over the Christmas period while most people were enjoying time with their family and friends.

“It is not just the staff on the road who worked so hard; I want to particularly note the work of the staff in our control rooms. These staff are at the forefront of everything that we do, finding out where we are required but also what is wrong with the patient so that our ambulance crews know what they are going into.

“The task at hand for our call handlers and dispatchers is often just as difficult as that experienced by our road staff; they all work exceptionally hard.

“I also want to thank the staff who support these staff, be it the vehicle preparation operatives who clean, fuel and restock the ambulances; the fleet mechanics who make sure we always have ambulances available but also the managers who look after the staff - it is a real team effort.”