AN emergency patient stuck for three hours in an ambulance on the busiest ever day compared a city hospital to a 'battleground'.

The 76-year-old man from Blackpole, Worcester, said he was admitted at Worcestershire Royal Hospital on December 19 - the busiest day on record - after waiting three hours inside an ambulance.

However, the grateful patient had nothing but praise for staff at the hospital, calling them 'excellent', 'superb' and 'fantastic' under pressure. A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust welcomed the comments and said praise from patients was 'always much appreciated'.

READ MORE: Patients at risk over record numbers at Worcestershire Royal Hospital 

READ MORE: 'Make your own way to A&E if you can' - message to  patients after long waits

According to one doctor - David Raven, divisional director Urgent Care and EM consultant - December 19 was the busiest day on record at the hospital with 176 patients in the emergency department by 10pm, pressures which put patients at risk.

The patient's wife initially called 111 but with her husband's oxygen levels dropping as he battled pneumonia, an ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital.

At one stage, before he got a bed in the overflow section of A&E, he was in a corridor with around nine other patients for under 10 hours.

Now recovering at home after being discharged on Boxing Day, the former patient, who did not wish to be named, said: "I was admitted at about 12.30pm after waiting on an ambulance for about three hours.

"Although A&E looked a bit like a battleground the care and attention was superb.

"A massive THANK YOU to the Ambulance Crew, Healthcare Assistants, Nursing Staff, Pharmacists, Doctors, Consultants and other staff for their excellent care and attention."

We have previously reported on queues of ambulances outside A&E at Worcester while 999 call advisors have asked emergency patients to make their own way to hospital - if they can.

A critical incident was declared last month following days of “sustained and extreme pressure.”

Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust asked for the public’s help as it tries to maintain “safe services for patients”.

The New Year period was one of the busiest on record for the 111 service, but West Midlands Ambulance Service recorded a fall in 999 calls.

Over the period December 31 to January 2, the West Midlands Ambulance Service took 16,694 call to the 111 service, up 78.5 per cent on the previous year.

For the same period, there was a 15.1 per cent fall in emergency calls, with 13,113 calls.

New Year's Eve was the quietest year since the Trust was set up. Between 6.00pm on the 31st and 6.00am on the 1st, the Trust took 1,710 call, compared to 3,002 the previous year, the busiest ever.

A spokesperson for the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said staff were working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances.

They added: “We continue to work closely with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) colleagues and our partners in the local health and care system to explore all possible ways of safely reducing waiting times and improving ambulance handover delays, which remain our number one quality and safety improvement priority."

The public is urged to contact NHS 111, either online or by calling 111 and to only use 999 in a life-threatening emergency.