London’s Ambulance service is to stop automatically attending incidents when requested by the police or healthcare professionals as part of its efforts to cope with “an extremely busy winter.”
By not automatically despatching an ambulance when other emergency and healthcare services request one, and by refusing to attend call-outs from “lower priority” patients, ambulance bosses say they will be able to attend an extra 150 emergency calls per day.
Jason Killens, Director of Operations at the London Ambulance Service (LAS), insisted that those who “really” need help will receive an ambulance and that the service would “continue to respond to all calls to children under two and anyone over 70, whatever their condition.”
The decision not to automatically attend when requested by the police could lead to officers having to decide between transporting injured or unwell members of the public to the local hospital or leaving them to fend for themselves.
The London’s Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee recently heard about problems caused for the Met when the ambulance service fails to take responsibility for those with mental health issues.
Last month Deputy Met Commissioner Craig Mackey told Assembly Members that the force is “increasingly” spending its time filling the gap when other agencies such as LAS “have walked away”.