WEST Midlands Ambulance Service has received over £5.5 million extra funding to boost staff number ahead of winter.

On Monday (July 12), the trust received 6,406 emergency calls in a day - 600 more than the previous record set last week and far busier than any New Year’s Eve, traditionally the busiest day of the year.

Nineteen of the 20 busiest days ever have come in the last month.

Trust chief executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This additional funding is very welcome when all ambulance services are under immense pressure.

“We have already started recruiting for additional call handlers and will work up other schemes that will allow us to make progress on meeting other key standards as soon as possible.

“At the start of the pandemic we were able to recruit hundreds of extra staff who played a key role in our ability to handle the rise in COVID-19 call numbers.

“We had people from all walks of life join us as call handlers; hundreds of students worked on our ambulances and helped to prepare the vehicles.

“Speaking to those staff, I don’t believe any of them would say that they weren’t proud to have helped keep our nation safe.

“Working for the NHS is a real privilege, and I would encourage anyone who wants a great career to think about joining us.”

The funding is specifically designed to increase the number of 999 call handlers; put additional crews on the road; provide additional clinical support in control rooms; extend the availability of hospital ambulance liaison officers (HALO) at the most challenged acute trusts and increase the number of emergency ambulances available for the winter.

NHS England has announced an additional £55 million of funding for the ambulance sector nationwide.