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Proposals Dangerous To Public

Monday, May 20, 2013

GMB Challenge London Ambulance Service Over Proposed Changes To Ambulance Staff Skill Levels Which Are Detrimental To The Public.

LAS plan to replace a qualified medical technician with an A&E Emergency Care Support Worker who will have very limited training to cope with many medical situations says GMB.

GMB, the union for ambulance staff, has been informed that the London Ambulance Service (LAS) proposes to dispatch frontline ambulance crews to emergency calls who are less qualified than those currently deployed.

At the moment an ambulance which attends an emergency is crewed by a qualified paramedic and a qualified medical technician. LAS propose to replace the qualified medical technician with a less qualified A&E Emergency Care Support Worker.

Brendan Kemp GMB Regional Officer said “LAS plan to replace a qualified medical technician with an A&E Emergency Care Support Worker who will have very limited training to cope with many medical situations. 

A & E Emergency Care Support Workers are unhappy with this situation as extra responsibility is being pushed onto them without the adequate training. 

Paramedics are also unhappy with this situation. This is because not only are they left to deal with the emergency situation but, as the senior qualified member of the crew on the vehicle, they will also be responsible for the actions of their assistant. This will put even more pressure on the paramedic when they are dealing with multiple and/or complex cases.This will undoubtedly result in a situation which may cost lives.  See below report from last week’s London Evening Standard.

GMB will protect its members from being in situations that may cause them to be blamed for an occurrence that has been undoubtedly manufactured by the ambulance service quest to save money. 

GMB has raised concerns and are currently in consultation with the LAS. The consultation process is on-going we will keep our members informed of progress as it develops.
Staff joined the ambulance service because they care about the lives of the people they attend to in emergencies. They are very upset that they will not be able to fulfill the role required due to these pressures.

GMB will seek to protect ambulance staff and the members of the public from the ambulance service’s crusade to save money at the cost of the public’s health.”

Tony Hughes GMB lead NHS Organiser added “It is our duty to inform the public about the proposed future state of our service. If these plans go ahead we will see a reduction in level of service as we have already seen in other parts of the country.

The most important thing for LAS to remember is that there are people’s lives at stake here. The public deserve the best service that can be offered.

Everyone believes that when you call the ambulance service a paramedic will attend. This will be less likely if LAS bring in its new staffing structure. These changes will leave patients at risk and undoubtedly result in a situation which may cost lives”


Contact: Brendan Kemp 07894 096 587 or Tony Hughes 07738 958 142 or Rob Macey 07710 618 908 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copy of report from London Evening Standard


Conor Shiels and Lizzie Edmonds

14 May 2013

The brother of a woman who died following a series of blunders by trainee paramedics has launched a scathing attack on those responsible for her death.

Chongo Mulenga, 31, has today told of his anger and disappointment at London Ambulance Service, adding that his sister’s death will “always be an open wound” for the family.

An inquest heard last month that Sarah Mulenga, 21, who had sickle cell disease, called an ambulance as she was feeling weak and suffering from diarrhoea.

Two third-year students, both of whom had failed to pass one of their training exams, arrived at Ms Mulenga’s home shortly afterwards, but failed to provide her with basic medical checks and did not take her to hospital.

Hours later, another ambulance was called to her Barking address as she had gone into cardiac arrest.

Ms Mulenga died in Newham Hospital from multiple organ failure later that day. The coroner confirmed that it was a case of death from natural causes contributed to by neglect.

Today, Mr Mulenga said: “It’s heartbreaking to think that one of the people you love most in the world died in so much pain and distress.

“The most basic of care wasn’t administered and that is what hurts the most.” He added: “I don’t blame the healthcare cuts because when you are doing a job involving the care of others you should do your best regardless of the resources available to you.”

Katy Millard, assistant director of operations at LAS, said: “We are extremely sorry that the standard of care Sarah received by the first ambulance crew was well below what we expect from our staff.

“The crew did not act in accordance with their training and our procedures and are no longer working for the service.”

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