Emergency services 'were not ready' for 7 July attacks

Failures in the preparations by the emergency services to cope with the London Tube and bus bombings will be criticised in a report today.

The review by members of the Greater London Assembly found there was a lack of stretchers, poor planning to evacuate the injured, and inadequate communications that prevented the emergency services being able to communicate to controllers.

Paramedics at the scene of the Edgware Road explosion had to use a nearby Marks & Spencer store for bandages after their first-aid supplies ran out.

One victim of the King's Cross explosion said it took two hours for ambulances to arrive at Russell Square Tube station.

"There were no ambulances. There were no doctors," Rachel North, 34, an account director told the review committee set up to learn the lessons from the disaster.

Paul Dadge, a former fireman who helped the masked Davinia Turrell to safety, told the hearing: "What struck me was the complete inadequacy of medical supplies and ambulances. We were using first-aid kits from Marks & Spencer because we'd run out of bandages.

"That just shouldn't be allowed to happen. There were nine ambulances for about 1,000 casualties and at one point there were two paramedics for 150 patients."

The report by a committee chaired by Richard Barnes, a Conservative member of the GLA, will praise the rescuers for their courage and heroism, but call for an immediate improvement in the emergency preparations to cope with another terrorist attack on the capital.

Some of the recommendations made after the 1987 King's Cross fire were never implemented and the main focus will be on the need to improve radio communications to enable police and rescuers to speak to each other in another emergency.

Ambulance drivers were unable to talk to their control rooms after the mobile telephone network was paralysed, it is thought to prevent terrorists triggering more bombs. The lack of co-ordination caused by the network breakdown led to the injured being taken to overcrowded accident and emergency units while other hospitals were underused.

The report may also increase the pressure on the Government to appoint a cabinet-level minister for homeland security, which the Prime Minister has so far resisted.

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative spokesman for homeland security, said he was still concerned at the lack of urgency in preparations for another emergency on the Tube network.

He found that improvised stretchers - carrying sheets - were on most Underground trains, but they were not marked in carriages and there were no written instructions available for the public on how to cope with a major emergency. "I found the level of complacency absolutely shocking," he said.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Baume, the head of the First Division Association of civil servants, accused ministers of seeking to shift the blame for failures at the Home Office on to their Whitehall staff.

He said the criticism of civil servants was "unfair, divisive and damaging to the work of every government department". Mr Baume added: "The Labour Government is in some difficulty as poll ratings fall and the Conservative Party is revitalised. Some recent criticism of the civil service looks like an ill-disguised attempt by some politicians and commentators to make excuses.

"These tactics are especially cowardly, because civil servants are not allowed to fight back."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition