“London Hospitals’ Accident & Emergency Units need the pressure taken off over-stretched ambulance paramedics” – London Lib Dem MPs

On a recent visit to the Waterloo HQ of London Ambulance Service, a delegation of London’s Liberal Democrat MPs called for major reform of the London Ambulance Service in order to free up cash for frontline ambulance crews. 

The Liberal Democrat MPs are calling for most back office functions of London’s blue-light services to be better integrated, to increase service quality to Londoners and to release funds for higher London weightings, to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis hitting London’s Ambulance Service.

Ed Davey, said:

“London’s paramedics are amongst the best in the world – so they are highly sought after elsewhere in the UK and indeed in other countries. With our frontline ambulance crews under massive pressure in recent years, it’s not surprising people have left the service. 

“The problem is, everyone from London Ambulance Service management to Boris Johnson and the relevant Whitehall departments have been too slow to recognise what’s been going on and to act for Londoners. 

“Although public finances are stretched, an ideal solution is staring us in the face – because it’s working elsewhere in the country and in other capital cities: improve performance and free up cash for your key staff by deeper collaboration between all the emergency services.”

Deputy Leader of the House of Commons Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington) said:

“This idea was talked about under Labour, but progress was painfully slow. And frankly in the last 4 plus years too those involved have dragged their feet. Elsewhere we seen this work - Gloucestershire with their “TriService” model have seen higher service quality for patients and the public, as well as efficiencies made to help the budget. 

“With our hospitals – especially our Accident and Emergencies – under so much pressure in London, we need all parts of the NHS ready and able to rise to that challenge. That can’t happen if we don’t invest in our frontline paramedics and relieve the pressure on London’s ambulance crews. With higher London weightings, we can tackle the recruitment and retention problem strategically and end the high turnover and high vacancy rate of recent years, which only adds to the pressure on the crews.”

The Lib Dems believe the London Ambulance Service should be devolved to the GLA. This structure would be based on models elsewhere in the UK, that have been studied in detail already, and be similar to those run in New York and Paris, whereby ‘blue-light’ services are run under central, city control. This system would give the Capital much more control over its own emergency services and would position the Mayor well to give essential oversight.

The Lib Dem delegation of MPs to the London Ambulance Service included:

Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington
Vince Cable, Lib Dem MP for Twickenham
Ed Davey, Lib Dem MP for Kingston and Surbiton
Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green 
Simon Hughes. Lib Dem MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey