THE ambulance service covering Ellesmere Port admits its handling of 999 calls is under 'significant strain'.
But Mersey Regional Ambulance Service says it is working hard to increase its efficiency.
A service spokesman said: 'The weekend was a particularly busy period.
'On Saturday and Sunday we received 1,521 emergency calls - approximately 760 calls each day.
'However, historical trends suggest that on average we should expect to receive around 500 to 600 calls per day at this time of year.
'Consequently, this has put a significant strain on our emergency control room operation, which has led to some delays in answering 999 calls.
'We do not find this acceptable but are working on a range of initiatives to help bring about more efficient ways of handling demand, such as introducing new technology, developing a better working environment and changing working patterns.
'This is all being done in consultation with trade unions. This is complex and will not be fixed overnight, but we are working as quickly as we can.'
He added: 'We also have a significant identified funding shortfall of £4.9m and we are in active discussions with our Primary Care Trusts to resolve this.'
The pressure was particularly felt on Sunday, when the service was asked by Warrington Hospital to divert patients to neighbouring A&E units and there were delays in handing patients over to hospitals in Merseyside.
The spokesman added: 'We do work very well with our hospital partners and so are able to manage emergency activity by using all options within the system to ensure patients receive treatment.
'We cannot stress the importance of people using our service properly.
'We continue to receive inappropriate calls, which place an increasing pressure on our ambulance crews.
'We are not a taxi service, but a professional healthcare operation, here to deal with genuine emergencies.'