While we are right to be concerned about what’s happening to the NHS in London, spare a thought for the London Ambulance Service (LAS).
We are potentially talking about the closure of up to 8 A&E’s in Greater London, so this will inevitably increase movement across the region in order for ambulances to reach the nearest A&E. Set against a backdrop of an increasing population in London with a projected growth from 8.2 million to 9 million by 2020 and more critically an ageing one too, this does not bode well for improving patient care. The assumption is that the LAS will pick up the slack by having to travel further when the service itself has to cope with a 19 per cent reduction in its budget as a result of the Nicholson Challenge and the consequent cut in 500 odd front line staff. Moreover in a recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it was suggested that the LAS was not only understaffed but also under equipped.
So, at the lasr MQT, I asked the mayor what he was doing to help the LAS which will be the single remaining pan-London health service provider after April 2013. I asked, for example what representations he’d made about the findings of the CQC which not only highlighted dangerous understaffing but also the lack of equipment to promote the care and welfare of patients.
The short answer is, not alot but you can watch the Mayor’s response for yourself above. So much for looking out for Londoners in their hour of need.