AN ambulance chief has said he will not allow the West Midlands service to collapse despite fears it could be at breaking point by next month.

There have been reports of patients facing lengthy waits for ambulances across the region and the service boss has warned it is under "very considerable pressure".

And delays in transferring patients to hospital services have added to the pressure for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), which has been at the highest alert level for a number of months.

In May, concerns were raised that the service, which covers Herefordshire, could "collapse" on August 17, with not enough resources to respond to emergencies.

The issue was raised at Monday's Staffordshire County Council health scrutiny committee meeting (July 11). The committee is also due to discuss the ambulance service at its meeting in September.

Committee chairman Jeremy Pert said on Monday: "Some members may be aware of a statement from West Midlands Ambulance Service that services would be stretched past breaking point by the middle of August 2022.

"But I have sought assurance from West Midlands Ambulance Service on whether services will still be available going forwards post-middle of August for our residents."

Councillor Pert read out a response from WMAS' chief executive Anthony Marsh at Monday's meeting.

It said: "I want to take this opportunity to confirm to you that whilst the service is under very considerable pressure, our staff in our control rooms and our operational paramedic ambulance crews are working flat out to reach patients as quickly as possible.

"Please be assured that service will continue as normal despite these challenges. I will not allow this service to collapse."

This week's high temperatures have added to pressure on ambulance services across the country and it has been reported that some have declared critical incidents.

WMAS has not declared a critical incident however, a spokesman said on Tuesday (July 12).

Councillor Pert, speaking on Monday, said: "We would not be not be a functioning health committee if we did not mention during the hottest few days of the year the importance to people of hydrating appropriately and being careful because of the weather.

"These are unusually high temperatures and they can be dangerous for some in our communities.

"I would encourage people to check on their friends and neighbours, especially those more vulnerable than themselves."

Residents have been offered the following advice by WMAS for coping with hot weather:

  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol
  • Avoid the heat by staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes
  • If possible, move into a cooler room
  • Have cool baths or showers and splash yourself with cool water