TOO many ambulances are being called out for people who don’t need them – piling pressure onto an already stretched service.

Michelle Brotherton, one of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s top bosses, says that some days a large proportion of calls are from people who are not in desperate need of emergency treatment.

During a question and answer session at County Hall, she also revealed that demand for an ambulance rises by as much as 30 per cent during busy periods, particularly on weekends when surgeries are shut.

Figures show that the West Midlands Ambulance Service gets on average 2,700 calls a day, including 200 from Worcestershire.

Year-on-year, this has risen by six per cent, and recent figures show that April’s Easter bank holiday weekend led to a 23 per cent surge in calls over the four days, compared with 2012.

Ambulance service bosses said that many of the unnecessary calls were from people suffering chest pains, fearing they were suffering from heat attacks, but were actually false alarms.

Mrs Brotherton, general manager for the service’s West Mercia area, said: “Some days we’ve seen an increase in demand of up to 30 per cent, with a big shift on weekends and later in the day when GPs surgeries are closed.

“One of the issues is that a large proportion of the calls we get often don’t require an ambulance.

“We’d get to an incident and they would say ‘we don’t need an ambulance, we just need advice’ or something. We get a lot of that.”

During the session of the county council’s health overview and scrutiny panel, Councillor Fran Oborski asked what response callers should expect from the ambulance service.

Mrs Brotherton said: “Red calls are classed as life-saving and those ones we have to get to in under eight minutes – it’s all about what the caller states to the controller.

“We don’t hold on to ambulances though, it’s down to what they tell us.”