London

Ambulance service 'should combine with fire stations'

Ambulance
Image caption The report purposes that paramedics should join police patrols to attend road accidents

Combining ambulance and fire stations will help London Ambulance Service (LAS) cope with growing demand at a time of budget cuts, a report has said.

The London Assembly said LAS should look at ways of working more closely with other emergency services.

The service is facing a £54m budget cut by 2015-16 and is axing 893 posts.

LAS said it already worked closely with other emergency services to share facilities and it would look for further ways to improve efficiency.

The Assembly Health and Public Services Committee report also proposes:

  • The mayor's office for policing and crime should review ambulance calls from the police, as last year 300 ambulances were "sent out every day at police request but only one was needed to save a life".
  • The LAS should consider having paramedics join police patrols to attend to road traffic accidents.
  • The mayor should have a more formal role in the oversight of the service.
  • The LAS should remain embedded in the NHS but also work more closely with the capital's police, fire and transport organisations which are led by the mayor.
  • It should be invited to join the London Health Improvement Board - chaired by the mayor - and to participate in proposals drawn up by the mayor and London councils for integrating door-to-door services.
  • The service could share ambulance stations with the London Fire Brigade as currently 41% of ambulance stations in London have a fire station within 1km (0.6 miles).

The report also highlights ways of working such as "see and treat", which depends on increasing the skills and training of paramedics, and including doctors on ambulances so life-saving treatment can be given more quickly, rather than just taking patients to hospital.

Victoria Borwick, chair of the health and public services committee, said: "By making these changes, we believe London Ambulance Service will continue to provide a good service for Londoners when they need it most."

Peter Bradley, LAS chief executive, said the service wanted to work more closely with other authorities.

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