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Ambulance services teaming up to boost efficiency


London Ambulance Service is teaming up with colleagues in neighbouring counties to help boost efficiency.

LAS and South Central Ambulance Service will consider sharing vehicles, IT systems and equipment in order to make the most of their budgets.

The trusts hope to learn from each other’s best practices by working more closely together.

LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson said: “Our patients expect and deserve the best care we can provide and that means making every £1 of tax payers’ money count.

“To keep improving, we need to partner with the wider NHS - and that’s what this partnership is all about, working with and learning from our neighbours to ensure the best care for the 16 million people who live and work across London and the South Central region.”

South Central Ambulance Service chief executive Will Hancock added: “We already work closely together with London Ambulance Service, including at incidents which happen on or near our boundaries, during large scale planned events and major incidents.

"With ever increasing demands on ambulance services across the country, such partnerships will be crucial to ensure that the improvements in patient care and experience, working environments for staff and innovations in service delivery can be delivered within our existing resources."

South Central Ambulance Service covers Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, as well as Sussex and Surrey for non-emergency patient transport services, while LAS covers the 32 London boroughs.

Union and Tube staff in talks ahead of Piccadilly Line strike

Piccadilly Line train

A union for transport workers said "the ball is firmly in London Underground's court" if a strike by Piccadilly Line staff is to be averted.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said it will be attending talks this morning as part of a row over staffing and working conditions.

If the strike goes ahead, there will be no service on the line from early afternoon on Wednesday until Friday afternoon, and then again on Friday evening, with no Night Tube, until Saturday morning.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said he hopes the talks can lead to "serious progress".

"This dispute is about a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations over a series of long-running unresolved grievances‎ including the abuse of procedures and and failure to implement key safety and operational improvements agreed in the past with the union," he said.

"Our arrangements for the strike action starting Wednesday are‎ all in place and the ball is firmly in London Underground's court."

Earlier this month Tube bosses branded the action "disappointing" and "unnecessary".

Drivers on the line were previously due to walk out in July but the action was suspended following last-minute talks.

News headlines from BBC London

Asad Ahmad has this morning’s top stories from London.

Could violence interrupters work in London?

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

Violence Interrupters

A key to the success of Chicago's public health model has been through the work of a team of people known as Violence Interrupters.

They have been deployed on some of Chicago's most dangerous streets since the turn of the century as part of the city’s radical approach to tackling violent crime.

Carefully picked and trained, most have come from the hierarchy of Chicago’s fiercest gangs. Collectively they have served hundreds of years in prison and have similar backgrounds to the people they are now trying to reach.

Separate from police and law enforcement, they use their community contacts to identify high-risk situations and individuals and then work with them to interrupt conflicts before they turn deadly.

They do not aim to dismantle gangs or cliques but instead work with them in order to save lives.

Angalia Bianca
Alyssa Schukar

Angalia Bianca (pictured) was a member of the infamous Latin Kings gang for more than 30 years before becoming a violence interrupter seven years ago.

"It's all about buying time in most situations, trying to calm people down and talk them down from doing something they'll regret," she says.

"These guys out here aren't going to listen to police, but we have a reputation and a street cred.

"We used to live our lives out on the streets, gangbanging, committing crimes. We speak their language."

NHS pays out £35m due to unsafe hospitals

The NHS paid out £35 million in compensation last year due to hospitals being unsafe for staff to work in and dangerous for members of the public to visit.

Research by law firm Nockolds Solicitors found the average payout over the 2017/18 financial year was £158,219 but some trusts paid out more than £1 million each.

It said routine breaches of the duty of care the NHS owes to its staff and hospital visitors often get overlooked because of the focus on compensation for medical negligence.

The details come from freedom of information requests to all 232 trusts in England.

London's top hospital payouts:

  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (£1,009,306)
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (£672,579)
  • Barts Health NHS Trust (£632,306)

Seven trusts had no payouts last year, including Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Can Chicago's model cure violence in London?

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

violence interrupters

Sadiq Khan has announced he is to tackle London's surge in violence by treating it as a disease.

Known as a public health approach, it originated on the streets of Chicago nearly 20 years ago and the idea comes from a scientist who spent years fighting infectious diseases in Africa and Asia.

In the 1990s, many major US cities had problems with violent deaths - Chicago often featured at the top of murder rates.

Dr Gary Slutkin looked at the data and noticed a number of similarities between the violence in Chicago and the epidemics he had just spent years trying to cure.

As an epidemiologist, he knew to look for three things before classing a disease as contagious; clustering, self-replication and epidemic waves.

Dr Slutkin concluded Chicago was facing an epidemic disease just as bad as he had witnessed in Uganda.

It's an approach which appears to have been a catalyst for the Mayor of London's latest bid to crackdown on violent crime in the capital.

Watch: Uber Eats drivers block streets in pay protest

Uber Eats drivers have staged protests over pay.

They were protesting changes to the payment structure, claiming rates for every delivery had been reduced without agreement.

Uber Eats say the changes were made "in response to feedback from courier" and "will help increase earnings during busy mealtimes."

Kyall Parnell: First 2018 murder investigation halted

Kyall Parnell
Met Police

A case into the first murder investigation to be launched in London this year has been discontinued, the Met Police has confirmed.

Kyall Parnell, 17, from Croydon, was one of four people to be fatally stabbed on New Year's Eve.

Although he died on 31 December, the investigation into his death didn't begin until the following morning.

One teenage boy, 16, was arrested on suspicion of murder but detectives are "satisfied" he acted in "self-defence".

The Met say Mr Parnell's family have been made aware of this and are being supported.

An inquest has been opened at Southwark Coroner's Court and adjourned until December.

Tulse Hill

Would you know when it's appropriate to call 999?

London ambulance

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is in danger of being "abused" by people calling ambulances in non-emergency situations, a doctor has said in response to a new poll about calling 999.

One in three people out of 1,000 Londoners who were polled said they would call an ambulance in a non-emergency situation because they did not know what else to do, according to a report by the London Assembly's health committee.

One in 10 people in the capital said they would call an emergency ambulance if their child got their hand stuck in a jam jar, while more than half of 18 to 24-year-olds would call an ambulance in a non-emergency situation if they had no other way to get someone to hospital.

Despite this, 56% of people said they strongly agreed with the statement "I know when to call an ambulance".

Dr Onkar Sahota, chairman of the London Assembly committee which is looking into the future of LAS, said people need a better understanding of the various ways to access healthcare.

"The 999 system can be abused by those with spurious issues but it also has to cover for problems in other parts of the healthcare system," he added.

"We all need to work together to make the best use of our precious ambulance service resources."

LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson added: "The latest poll of Londoners shows we need to remind people, of all ages, to use us wisely and only call 999 in a genuine emergency.

"We are delighted that the survey shows that the overwhelming majority of Londoners have confidence in us and think our staff do an excellent job."

'Worrying lack of detail' in Khan's anti-violence plan

London Assembly members have said there is a "worrying lack of detail" in the London mayor's new strategy for tackling violent crime.

Sadiq Khan has set up a Violence Reduction Unit to treat violence in the capital like a public health issue.

But Steve O’Connell, chairman of the Assembly's police and crime committee, voiced concerns about the initiative which "has been a long time coming".

“We commend the mayor for finally recognising that a broader approach which addresses the causes of violence is needed to halt the scourge of violent crime, in all its forms, that is blighting our city," he said.

"Communities need to be involved for this type of approach to work and London is very complex," Mr O'Connell added.

“However, there is a worrying lack of detail as to how this unit will operate across such a vast area as the whole of London.

"We will be keeping a close eye on whether this new plan has an impact on the ground and does not end up a missed opportunity.”

Taxi drivers take congestion charge fight to City Hall

Taxi protest
Kathryn Oglesby

Taxi drivers across London who could face a daily congestion charge of £10.50 have taken their fight to the Mayor of London’s doorstep.

Cab drivers could soon no longer be exempt from paying the daily levy under proposals put forward by Transport for London (TfL).

The charge was introduced in 2003 and is imposed on drivers travelling through central London from 07:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.

Campaigners, who are part of the Independent Workers union of Great Britain (IWGB) protested outside of City Hall yesterday, where they called on Sadiq Khan to reverse these plans or make taxi operators pay the charge instead.

Yaseen Aslan, taxi driver and co-founder of IWGB, said: “We represent the majority of ethnic minority drivers and expect Sadiq Khan to go out of his way and help people like us.

“It is shocking we have to protest against a Labour mayor.

“We want more workers rights and to stop taxi companies exploiting drivers.

“We need more done to make sure our rights are not being abused.”

Mr Aslan said that taxi drivers have to work a minimum of 35 hours a week just to offset the costs they face before making any money - these include petrol, licencing and insurance costs.

If they had to pay a daily charge of £10.50 every day this would seriously impact upon their incomes.

Knives and alcohol sold to children in London


Shops in London are selling knives, alcohol and tobacco to children as young as 13.

Over 2,500 test purchases carried out by London Trading Standards (LTS) revealed the age-restricted items being sold to under-18s.

A total of 285 illegal sales were recorded, with 14% of shops selling knives and 12% selling alcohol. The Met Police said it was "unacceptable".

There have been 64 fatal stabbings in London since January.

Number of terror suspects on trial hits 10-year high

Armed officers

A total of 100 people were brought to trial charged with terrorism offences in the year ending 30 June 2018, Home Office statistics show.

Of those on trial 90 were convicted, making it the highest number of people tried and highest number of convictions since data began being collected in 2009.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said counter terrorism police are "working tirelessly to ensure that our investigations yield positive results at court."

“We’re not only successfully prosecuting more people than ever before, but we’re also jailing the most dangerous offenders for longer - helping to keep the public safe,” he said.

Met chief 'disappointed' by police pay rise

Cressida Dick

The head of the Metropolitan Police has criticised the government's refusal to increase police pay by 3%.

Police were given a 2% rise - even though an independent panel had recommended a 3% increase.

Cressida Dick said she was "disappointed" by the decision "to ignore the recommendations", which had impacted both morale and staffing.

It comes as a public spending watchdog called the government's approach to police funding "ineffective".