London Ambulance Chief: Service has been 'under extreme pressure'

14 January 2021, 15:25

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The chief executive of the London Ambulance Service has told LBC his organisation has been under 'extreme pressure'.

With the coronavirus crisis impacting NHS staff London Ambulance Service Chief Executive Garrett Emmerson spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari about the new Met Police and London Ambulance partnership, which will see 75 police officers supporting the LAS in their response to Covid.

Mr Emmerson told Nick a group of Metropolitan Police officers have begun training to drive ambulances in the capital, to help the service to continue to function.

The ambulance chief told LBC the service has been "under extreme pressure" over the last few weeks.

He revealed the toll had been taken not just on paramedics but also on call handlers and control room staff.

"We've been taking more calls and responding to more patients than we ever have," he told Nick.

Bringing in other emergency services to support the LAS will enable them to "put more ambulances on the road," Mr Emmerson said.

Revealing "between 13 and 14 per cent" of LAS staff are off at the moment, Mr Emmerson said there were 70 staff who were isolating "long term."

The Met has agreed to provide around 75 police officers to London Ambulance Service. The new partnership will help the ambulance service to continue to put more ambulances on the road responding to Londoners that need them.

The officers are blue light driving trained, have basic first aid skills and know the streets of London well, making them the ideal partners to assist the ambulance service during this period of unprecedented demand.

The LAS CEO told LBC the service had been under pressure over the last few weeks
The LAS CEO told LBC the service had been under pressure over the last few weeks. Picture: LBC/PA

London Ambulance Service answers more 999 and 111 calls than any other ambulance service in the UK. Our crews go to more than 3000 emergencies a day and handle over two million 999 calls a year.

Our 24-hour 111 integrated urgent care services in north east and south east London answer more than 1.2million calls a year.