Ambulance call-outs are at record levels, with health bosses saying that last week was the busiest since the service formed in 2006.
Nearly 9,000 potentially life-threatening incidents were reported last week, an increase of 9.4 per cent on this time last year.
Last week saw an extra 2,152 calls, including 1,137 extra ‘red’ incidents – or potentially life-threatening situations.
The situation is expected to continue into the new year.
Ambulances bosses have warned that people who do not have a life-threatening condition can expect to have to wait some time for an ambulance.
North West Ambulance Service had already been struggling to cope with demand, as the service tries to make cuts of £14m.
NWAS Director of Operations Derek Cartwright said: “The call volume we are currently experiencing is unprecedented and our crews are working extremely hard to reach those who urgently need our help as quickly as possible.”