West Midlands Ambulance Service sees another busy New Year

Hundreds of West Midlands Ambulance Service staff gave up their New Year to ensure the public had a happy and safe night.

More ambulance crews were on duty across the region than ever before at New Year.

It meant the ambulance service was in a strong position to deal with the expected influx of calls and, as expected there was a steady increase in those calls in the last four hours of 2015, towards midnight.

Between 8pm and midnight, there were over 600 emergency calls, an increase of nearly 7% on the same period a year earlier. 145 of those were across Birmingham with a further 142 in the Black country and 68 in Worcestershire.

The first ‘999’ call of 2016 came in just thirty seconds into the New Year and from midnight until 4am, there were 995 ‘999’ calls, an increase of 15% on the same period a year earlier. In just 4 hours of the new year, Brummies rang for help 243 times and 215 calls were made in the Black Country. The vast majority of those calls were alcohol related injury.

A highlight of the night for the ambulance service was the successful resuscitation of a young man who collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest in a nightclub in Birmingham. It happened outside “6 on Broad Street” shortly after 1am. A senior paramedic officer, a community paramedic, an ambulance crew and the MERIT trauma team consisting of a trauma doctor and critical care practitioner attended. They were joined by a British Red Cross Commander and a nurse from the Temporary Minor Injury Unit operating during the night. The man who was in his late teens was delivered a shock by a defibrillator, given advanced life support by the crews which included being anaesthetised and his airway maintained before being taken to City Hospital.

However, also in Birmingham, an ambulance was taken off the road after a window was smashed by would-be thieves who were targeting the vehicle’s built-in sat-nav. It happened in Elliott Road in the Selly Oak area of the city at approx. 10pm on New Year’s Eve. The ambulance crew were not injured and later continued the rest of their shift in another ambulance.

It was the Temporary Minor Injuries Unit’s ninth year in Birmingham city centre. It was based in the Library of Birmingham and 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. In turn, it helped free-up availability of ambulances and capacity at A&E departments. It was staffed by West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics and emergency medical technicians and volunteers from British Red Cross and St John Ambulance.

Combined with the City Centre Treatment Unit normally provided every weekend in Birmingham’s Broad Street, a total of 33 patients were seen, 22 of whom were treated and discharged at the scene. 11 were transferred to hospital. Unfortunately, one of the volunteers working at the Temporary Minor Injuries Unit was spat at and the offender was arrested by police.

Paramedic Officer Jason Wiles said: “It was a busy night but we managed because of our planning and the help of our partner agencies.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “I am very grateful and very proud of all my staff that worked through the year and through the night to keep everyone safe, putting the public before themselves and their families.

“I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.”


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