Ambulance staff fear collapse of service
Thursday 13 October 1994
Pre-empting the Government's own research, expected later this year, the report by the GMB union describes a 'climate of fear' among staff, serious defects in its call-out systems and a catalogue of failures in organisation. In the report, a majority of staff say that in 'their professional opinion', the LAS is near to collapsing.
Coming only five months after the death of an 11-year- old girl, Nasima Begum, whose family waited 53 minutes for an ambulance - and only two years after the collapse of an untried computer system with estimates of 20 deaths - the crisis survey, according to a senior health official, depicts 'a time bomb waiting to go off'.
Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, is now likely to face pressure to speed up her department's own survey and attend to problems that it finds.
The LAS's 3,000 staff cover 600 square miles and a resident population of 6.8 million boosted daily by a substantial influx of commuters. In the past five years there have been three changes of management. Poor industrial relations and a 'macho management' have, according to the report, resulted in staff fearing that any criticism will end their careers.
For the first time, current restrictions on overtime for accident and emergency staff are cited by the majority of staff as creating delays. A majority also said 'they felt like leaving'. The inquiry also found that most staff did not regard it as financially worthwhile to work nights or weekends. Many privately admitted that it was common practice for crews to 'go sick' on their nights and to take annual leave when they were rostered for night shifts.
On the Sunday night of Nasima Begum's death, the Shoreditch station closest to her home had six ambulances off the road. Four were due to annual leave; two due to absenteeism.
As pressure on the service increases, and the Government's plans to close certain London hospitals advance, ambulance staff were almost unanimous in believing that closing accident and emergency departments, such as Bart's, may result in deaths.
Following the chaos of 1992, when the LAS's computer system crashed, the central ambulance control (CAC) returned to a 'paper-operated control'.
Questioned on the information currently received by crews, it is revealed that almost half of the 999 and urgent calls details on patients' conditions given out by CAC are incorrect and that just over a quarter of all addresses given out are wrong.
In detailed recommendations, the GMB calls on the Government to halt the predicted break-up of the LAS. It says that over 500 new recruits are needed, overtime restrictions must be ended and new funds found to reintroduce computerisation.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...