Joan Ryan has seen first-hand the professionalism of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) staff serving Enfield.
Joining a shift from Chase Farm ambulance station with two paramedics – Becky and Jack, on the evening of Friday 24th October, Ms Ryan was deeply impressed by their skills and the care they gave to patients.
They perform a difficult job under very difficult circumstances, given that paramedics are currently under-resourced and overworked. Less than two hours into Friday’s shift, there were 130 calls awaiting an ambulance and the LAS had dealt with over 4000 calls throughout London so far that day.
In addition, there are now only two ambulances operating out of Chase Farm ambulance station. Many ambulances in use are in poor condition. One of the patients, in the ambulance Joan travelled in, was complaining of feeling cold. He was very poorly and the heating did not work.
Joan Ryan, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Enfield North, said:
“The dedication and expertise of Becky, Jack and all their colleagues should be applauded.
However, staff are under real pressure. Morale is low. There is a huge vacancy rate for paramedics and, as a consequence, we have seen a 1011% increase in spending on private ambulances by the LAS between 2011/12 to 2013/14.
Paramedics are working flat out for the whole of their shift and after three nights on call in a row they are shattered.
The ambulance service is in crisis. We all need a service we can rely on and staff deserve better working conditions. I fear that with winter on the way, these issues will become even more acute.”
- A recent Labour Freedom of Information request to all ambulance trusts revealed an increased spend on private ambulances of 82% nationally between financial years 2011/12 and 2013/14 - from £37 million to £67.5 million last year. Yet in the London area, the NHS spent £8,841,808 last year compared to £795,635 just two years earlier.