I have been contacted by a senior paramedic from London’s Ambulance Service (LAS) in Enfield who has informed me of the recent pressures faced by the LAS and the stresses this is placing on staff working conditions and patient care.
The paramedic said that overstretched crews are operating under protocols which indicate the service levels required are not being met. Staff are, at times, being asked to work past their 12 hour shift and some residents in need of care have had to wait for four hours for an ambulance to arrive.
The ‘Surge Plan’ operated by the LAS to manage extreme surges in ambulance demand is under real strain and the manner in which it is being used “is not safe”, according to the paramedic.
The paramedic’s insights paint a disturbing image for the state of the LAS in Enfield.
This corresponds with the findings of a survey Cllr. Alev Cazimoglu and I undertook earlier this year, which found that ambulance crews were struggling to cope with demand following the closure of Chase Farm Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department.
Not only are these dedicated paramedics and technicians under-resourced and overworked, but, as a result, the wellbeing of patients may be at risk.
This is unacceptable and pressures on the LAS will only increase with winter on the way.
I have written to the Chief Executive of the LAS NHS Trust, Ann Radmore, to ask how these important matters can be addressed and to request detailed information on ambulance service provision for Enfield.