West Midlands Ambulance Service takes around 3,000 ‘999’ calls every day at its Emergency Operations Centres in Stafford and Brierley Hill. Each call is categorised; some will result in telephone advice and referral from our team of highly experienced Clinical Support Desk paramedics, others will result in a blue-light response.
The service provides around 200 ambulances and more than 100 rapid response vehicles across the West Midlands region every day. The fleet of ambulances is prepared in one of our 15 new hubs and respond from a network of over 90 Community Ambulance Stations. All of our rapid response vehicles has a 4×4 capability and many are staffed by advanced paramedics who are treating an increasing number of patients in the comfort of their own home, without the need to go to hospital.
We are rapidly moving to a position where there will be a paramedic on every one of our vehicles. That equates to having a 70% frontline paramedic workforce; the highest in the country. We are achieving this by recruiting graduate paramedics from university, many of whom will have completed their practical placements with us. In addition, we will be providing additional training for existing staff and we also run an incredibly successful student paramedic programme.
Many people still think we take every patient to hospital – the reality is very different. Around 8% of our calls are dealt with by the paramedics in the control room. Another 33% are treated at the scene by our highly skilled staff and only 59% are actually taken to a treatment centre such as an A&E or a minor injuries unit.
Our regular frontline staff receive assistance from a number of specialist staff and an ‘army’ of volunteers.
Our Hazardous Area Response Team is one of 15 in the country (alongside a Welsh and Scottish team) . This team of specialist paramedics are able to operate in challenging and often dangerous situations such as collapsed buildings, in fast moving water, working at height, supporting firefighter as they tackle burning buildings and also deal with patients suffering from the effects of explosions or chemical or biological incidents.
We are supported by a fantastic network of volunteers; more than 800 people from all walks of life give up their time to help the people in their own towns and villages by becoming a Community First Responder. The number of people alive today because of their actions rises every year. Providing early defibrillation can be truly lifesaving.
We are also assisted by voluntary organisations such as the British Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, BASICS doctors, water-based rescue teams and 4×4 organisations.
We have access to five air ambulances, the highest number of any service in the country. Three are provided by the Midlands Air Ambulance charity at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, Strensham Service on the M5 in Worcestershire and at Tatenhill Airfield in Staffordshire, the other two are provided by The Air Ambulance Service based in Coventry and the Nottingham East Midlands Airports.
The wealth and breadth of experience and vast knowledge of our staff means that we can deliver the right patient care, in the right place, at the right time.