AMBULANCE bosses in Staffordshire are bracing themselves for what could be one of the busiest weekends on record.
Concerns have been raised after new figures showed that last weekend, June 20 to 22, was the third busiest since the West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust was set up in 2006.
The only weekends that have been busier were when the region was affected by heavy snow.
Over the three days, the Trust responded to 8,432 incidents. That is 14.6 per cent more than the equivalent period the previous year, which had 7,358 incidents.
Ambulance bosses are asking people to think twice about whether they really need emergency treatment before dialling 999.
What is causing the service most concern is that demand has been rising rapidly for over two months; at a rate that is far above what would have been expected. Worse, the coming weekend will see a combination of June’s pay day, potentially good weather and a usually very busy time of year.
Acting emergency services director Nathan Hudson said: “Our staff are working incredibly hard to respond to calls, with many coming in on their days off to provide additional ambulance crews so that we can deal with the demand.
“However, we want the public to play their part too. We would urge everyone to choose well and make sure that they use the most appropriate part of the NHS to access the treatment and advice that they need for their condition.
“We will be doing everything possible to continue performing above the national standards, but we would urge the public to play their part in ensuring we can get to the most seriously ill people in the shortest possible time.”
Head of performance John Wright added: “When we look at the types of calls that we have received over the last few weeks, we see lots that are less serious .
“Before dialling 999, take a moment to consider whether you actually need an ambulance. Is your condition life threatening such as a stroke, heart attack, serious blood loss, an unconscious patient or choking?
“If not, would another part of the NHS be better suited to your requirements?”