Exclusive

London Ambulance Service under 'incredible pressure' but 'coping', Chief Executive says

3 January 2021, 10:51

By Megan White

The London Ambulance Service is under "incredible pressure" but is "coping" amid the coronavirus crisis, its Chief Executive has told LBC.

Speaking exclusively to Swarbrick on Sunday, Garrett Emmerson said the service was receiving between 7,500 and 8,000 calls per day, with New Year's Day its second busiest day ever.

He said over Christmas the service has seen "more face-to-face incidents that our crews are having to go to than we've ever seen before."

Read more: UK sees new record high of 57,725 Covid cases in 24 hours

But despite the number of calls the service has received, Mr Emmerson said "it's really tough but we are managing to cope at the moment."

He told LBC's Tom Swarbrick: "It's been incredibly busy - Boxing Day was our second busiest day ever and in fact we've surpassed that now, because New Year's Day was even busier than that.

"We're busier than we've ever been, frankly, both in our 999 services and indeed 111.

"My staff and volunteers are doing an incredible job out there every day, working probably harder than they've ever had to work before.

"We are managing to cope, it's really tough but we are managing to cope at the moment."

Read more: First Oxford Covid-19 vaccines arrive in hospitals ready for rollout

Asked what was meant by busy, Mr Emmerson added: "To give you some context, we're seeing double the number of calls we'd normally see at this time of year in 111, we're probably 50 per cent busier than we'd be in the middle of a winter when we're normally at our busiest anyway.

"We're 50 per cent busier again in 999 call answering, and more face-to-face incidents that our crews are having to go to than we've ever seen before."

He continued: "It's continuing to be at that level of 7,500 to 8,000 calls every day, so it's the sustained pressure that I think is different.

"In the spring, we saw those kind of numbers, or a little below those numbers, but for a very short period.

"We know this time because it's the winter, rather than the spring, it's likely to be more sustained.

"So we're working with the whole health system in London, working with the hospitals, the acute sector, the primary care sector, to make sure we've got as many pathways open to patients and ways of treating patients and making sure that, difficult as it is at hospitals at the moment, we're doing everything we can to smooth the flow of patients into hospitals."

Mr Emmerson said it is "probably less likely" that the military will be enlisted to help the ambulance service in London, adding that they had support from 400 specially trained London Fire Brigade staff to drive vehicles and carry out emergency care.

He also said there was "some help" from surrounding ambulance services, and that London could also help them "as the virus spreads around."

Mr Emmerson said it was "absolutely the message" that the NHS is "open for business", adding: "Although we're under incredible pressure, we're here for people when they need us most and it's important that people do ring us if they get into a seriously unwell situation and feel they're unable to.

"It's about using NHS services sensibly and wisely, using 111 as well as 999, using 111 online, using the wider GP network and primary care system, and then we will make sure we're there for Londoners when they need us."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Grant Shapps told Nick Ferrari there were "no plans" to introduce registration plates for cyclists

'No plans' to introduce registration plates for cyclists, says Grant Shapps

Jack Fenton was killed after being struck by a helicopter's tail rotor

Parents demand answers from Greek authorities after son, 22, killed by helicopter blade

Lady Louise

Lady Louise Windsor working for minimum wage at garden centre before university

Gerard Butler posted this picture of him and his pal Darius on Instagram

Gerard Butler pays tribute to 'dear friend' Darius Danesh and posts moving Instagram photo

A 44-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 87-year-old Thomas O'Halloran

Man charged with murder after Thomas O'Halloran, 87, stabbed to death on mobility scooter in Greenford

iPhones and iPads are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'

Rishi said his go-to item with his daughters would be a breakfast wrap, which has been discontinued

Rishi Sunak’s 'go-to' McDonald’s order with his family taken off menu over two years ago

Salman Rushdie suspect had ‘read two pages’ of the Satanic verses, after mother says ‘I’m done with him’.

Salman Rushdie attack suspect reveals he 'only read two pages' of Satanic Verses