WEST Midlands Ambulance Service has experienced a 'moderate' increase in calls as a result of the recent pollution.

The Trust has seen an increase in 999 calls to patients with chest pain and breathing problems over the last three days resulting in a slight increase in overall demand.

Calls to breathing problems and chest pain have increased mainly in Staffordshire and Birmingham.

Breathing problems normally account for 11 per cent of the service's total 999 calls but this has increased to 12 per cent.

And similarly, chest pain calls have increased by 2.5 per cent this week to 13 per cent of the total 999 calls.

Dr Andrew Carson , WMAS medical director, said: “A prolonged period of these conditions poses real difficulties to those patients with emphysema, asthma and long term breathing problems.

“Air pollution and smog can make breathing difficult even for healthy individuals. That’s why we suggest people with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors as much as possible.

“It is vital that we get to patients needing our help as quickly as possible and therefore ask the public to assist us by only calling 999 in life threatening situations. For less urgent health advice, please call 111.”

Weather forecasters are suggesting pollution over parts of the UK could be blown away later today.