Training course paramedics 'not deployed to 7/7 response'

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The Independent Online

Ambulance bosses refused a request for paramedics on a training course to be sent to treat injured survivors of the 7/7 bombings, an inquest heard today.

The officer in charge of the emergency medical response to the suicide attack on a train at London's Edgware Road Tube station also described communication problems and shortages of wound dressings.



Peter Swan told the inquests for the 52 innocent victims of the 2005 attacks that he "could have done with some more ambulances" at the scene.



The hearing was also told that the first senior fire officer to reach Edgware Road would not let his crews go down to the devastated train for up to an hour after the atrocity because of fears a "dirty" bomb was involved.



Mr Swan said he did not know at the time that paramedics based at nearby Park Royal and Willesden ambulance stations were available but not sent to help.



He asked for paramedics on a training course in Fulham that day to be reassigned to treat the wounded at Edgware Road, but they were not deployed.



Mr Swan told the hearing: "I think there came a point where we were managing the incident with the resources we had."



Ben Hay, counsel to the inquests, asked him: "That sounds like making do rather than feeling that you had enough resources to cope properly?"



He replied: "We could have done with some more resources, yes."



Plot ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan killed himself and six others when he detonated his homemade rucksack bomb on a westbound Circle line train at Edgware Road station at about 8.50am on July 7 2005.



Mr Swan, then-acting duty station officer at St John's Wood ambulance station in charge of 120 staff, became "silver" commander in charge of the medical response at the scene.



The inquests heard of concerns that doctors and nurses sent to help from a nearby hospital were not suitably trained and may even have hindered the effort.



Helicopter Emergency Medical Service paramedic Lee Parker wrote in a debrief form: "I cannot understand why local crews (Park Royal, Willesden) were not used.



"Due to the number of casualties involved, we had to utilise various medical staff who ended up creating more work as they did not understand triage and/or major incident procedures.



"Other medical staff should be kept as far away as possible from these incidents."



Mr Swan told the hearing: "From my position on the day as silver, I wasn't aware of that."



The inquests were told that paramedics requested an emergency support vehicle - carrying extra supplies like oxygen cylinders, pain relief gas, dressings and lights - at 9.21am but it only arrived at 10am.

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