The London Ambulance service has rejected suggestions its operations be merged with those of the capital’s Fire Brigade.
A report prepared for the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority suggests the creation of joint stations, headquarters and greater collaboration “could deliver a better service to Londoners and save money.”
LFEPA Chairman Brian Coleman says “Together, the fire brigade and ambulance services should look at the potential benefits to Londoners of sharing a range of services from procurement, to property and 999-control centres.
“No options should be off the table when it comes to the London Fire Brigade and the ambulance service working more closely together.”
In December a London Assembly report backed greater co-operation between the capital’s blue light services but rejected giving the Mayor full control over the Ambulance Service or merging it with the Fire Brigade.
Peter Bradley, the London Ambulance Service’s (LAS) Chief Executive, says it was “vital” the service remain part of the NHS but said the LAS was happy to share services and purchasing “where it is operationally practical”.
Bradley added: “our job is to deliver clinical care to Londoners and, as the London Assembly review concludes, we can do this most effectively if we remain integrated within the health service.”
Victoria Borwick AM, Chair of the London Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee, said: “In our report we identified potential cost savings in sharing some back office premises, but we also highlighted the need for doctors and highly skilled paramedics who are trained to save lives in that “golden hour” of an emergency.
“The ambulance service is one of the main gateways to the NHS for people needing treatment and paramedics are out on our streets now, all day, every day, helping people and saving lives, not just sitting around waiting to respond to a call. For Londoners, knowing that in a medical emergency a highly qualified medical professional will come to their aid, is what matters most.”