Published Fri, 2010-12-17 16:58; updated 34 weeks ago.
People are being urged not to travel or go outside unless absolutely necessary following an increase of more than 40% in calls to the ambulance service compared to a week ago.
West Midlands Ambulance said they dealt with nearly 1500 calls between midnight and 12 noon on Friday (Dec 17) compared to 1,075 during the same period on Friday, 10 December, which was already a very busy day.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “A huge number of these calls are reports of slips, trips and falls as people venture out into the snow and onto icy conditions. Clearly many of these could have been avoided if the journey was not essential.”
The figures show there were 781 calls in Birmingham and the Black Country during the first 12 hours of December 17 – a 50% rise on the 521 received over the same period on December 10.
In Coventry and Warwickshire, the calls were up 45%, from 165 to 240, while in Staffordshire they rose from 208 to 268, and in West Mercia, from 181 to 202.
The spokesman added: “West Midlands Ambulance Service is doing all it can to help people in need.
“All clinically trained staff who are at work today are staffing vehicles. Every vehicle available to the service is on the road and extra ambulances and 4x4 vehicles are being brought in.
”We are having to stringently prioritise all of our 999 calls and despatch our resources to the most serious cases first. While we are doing everything we can, we need the public to do their bit too. We would ask that people not make journeys on foot or by car if those journeys are unnecessary.”
Similar advice has been given by NHS Warwickshire after the A&E department at Warwick Hospital treated 17 people with fractured wrists and arms in just two hours – the same number as they would normally expect to see in two weeks.
Wayne Bartlett, Emergency and Urgent Care Commissioner at NHS Warwickshire, said: “Accident and emergency departments across the county are under extra pressure at the moment following the recent flurry of snow and we’re expecting more snow over the weekend.
“We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people attending A&E with fractured wrists and arms due to slipping on icy pavements and are urging people to not go out onto the snow and ice.”