Since 2013, the number of emergency calls has increased each year, and ambulances have been placed on standby at Bel Royal and Five Oaks to cope with the rising demand.
And Peter Gavey, chief ambulance officer, has said there has been no signs that the 2018 levels will drop.
The Ambulance Service annual report shows that last year, 98 per cent of life-threatening calls – known as category A callouts – were responded to within 19 minutes, while 68 per cent were reached within eight minutes.
The UK response time targets are to respond to at least 95 per cent of category A calls within 19 minutes.
Mr Gavey said that 2017 was ‘one of the busiest years’ the Ambulance Service had faced and that more staff had been recruited to help ease the pressures on the service.
He said that while they did not know for sure the reasons for the increase in emergency calls, the increasing population and people living with comorbidities – one or more diseases or disorders – were likely to be affecting call volumes. He said this was a global trend.
‘Some changes have already been introduced,’ said Mr Gavey, ‘such as having five additional technicians – some recruited and others still in the recruitment phase – to allow leading paramedics to be a single responder in addition to current crews.
‘We will continue to review demand and work with management as to how this can best be covered.
‘We are currently looking into single responders using specialist and advanced paramedics – the aim of this is to provide care at home and referral on to primary care in order to keep people safely in their homes where possible.’
As well as 9,156 emergency 999 calls, the Ambulance Service also responded to 1,300 urgent calls from GPs and a further 1,605 routine calls.
Mr Gavey added: ‘Our staff have worked very hard to step up to the challenge, working in partnership with colleagues from Health and Community Services, volunteers and third-sector organisations, and the service is moving towards new ways of working in order to ensure we are fit for the future.’