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London Ambulance Service placed in special measures


27 November 2015

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London Ambulance Service (LAS) – which provides emergency medical services to 8.6 million Londoners – has been rated inadequate and recommended to go into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

London Ambulance Service (LAS) – which provides emergency medical services to 8.6 million Londoners – has been rated inadequate and recommended to go into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

A three-week long CQC inspection, involving 54 inspectors and specialists, was carried out in June, to look in detail at the trust's emergency operations centres, the emergency and urgent care service, patient transport services and the resilience service, including the hazardous area response team.

It found that frontline staff were not being properly supported to do their jobs, there was a culture of harassment and bullying and in many cases there just weren't enough properly trained staff, or the necessary equipment wasn't available to them.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: "I am recommending that London Ambulance Service be placed into special measures because I believe that this is the step necessary to ensure that this vital service gets the support it needs to improve. 


"The Trust has been performing poorly on response times since March 2014. This is a very serious problem, which the trust clearly isn't able to address alone, and which needs action to put right,” he added.

However, the union GMB said that the underlying problem is a staff shortage, and “seriously high vacancy rate in the LAS and other ambulance services.”

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said "As a result of staff shortages, existing staff have had to shoulder more responsibility as crews are not well resourced with adequate numbers on each shift whilst responding to 999 calls across the capital. 



“GMB and the ambulance trade unions have already nationally called for a specific recruitment and retention premia for paramedics and we already know that large numbers of ambulance staff are looking to leave the service because of the increase in pressures,” he added.

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