England

West Midlands Ambulance Service blames cold for calls rise

The cold weather has led to a significant rise in the number of patients being treated, according to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

On Sunday there was a 14% rise in the number of incidents it dealt with.

The trust said it was treating more respiratory complaints and chest pains, as well as slips, trips and falls.

Assistant chief ambulance officer Mark Gough said: "Not only is the ambulance service very busy, all of the acute hospitals are too."

On Sunday, crews dealt with more 2,384 incidents - 300 more than than expected.

On Friday the figure was up by 10% at 2,360.

Mr Gough said: "Because of the increases in these types of calls, it is even more important than ever that people use the NHS wisely.

"The 999 service is for life-threatening conditions and emergencies, such as choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss or a state of unconsciousness."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said less serious conditions could be dealt with at a pharmacy, by a GP, by NHS direct or in a minor injuries unit.

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