Despite Prime Minister David Cameron declaring the Conservatives are “the party of the NHS”, health care budgets in London are being slashed by £ 2 billion. One element of the cuts which has not got the attention it deserves is the London Ambulance Service which will lose £ 53 million of its budget, that is 19 per cent by 2015/16, resulting in 890 jobs cuts, of which 560 jobs will be frontline staff.
This for a service that will have to cope with the hugely increased work load as we see London lose up to 8 A&E’s across the whole of Greater London. We go from 32 A&E’s in 2010 to 24 A&E’s in 2020 and no provision having been made for the vast increase in the numbers of the extra ambulance journeys going to be made to compensate for less local A&E’s, as the closer plans make no provisions. On top of this we have population growth in London expected from the present 8.17 million going up to 9 million by 2020, adding an extra 120,000 to serve in their catchment areas.
Furthermore, its going to cost extra to provide adequate ambulance cover to get people to hospital when we have lost a quarter of A&E departments. The Daily Mail recently estimated that with the closer of Ealing Hospital A&E you can expect an addtional 50 extra trips to other hospitals, which would cost an additional £ 6 million annually. No savings made there clearly with the cuts.
So its only a matter of time before reducing shifts levels and increasing call rates result in tragedy.