May 19 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Injured Redbridge residents are being made to wait more than an hour for ambulances or are having to get themselves to hospital after a rise in life-threatening incidents.
People with “non-serious” injuries have been told no ambulances were available on several occasions in the past month.
In one incident, an Ilford man was driven to hospital by a neighbour after waiting more than an hour for an ambulance.
The man, in his 30s, had suffered “fairly serious” burns after a pan fire in Hampton Road.
Firefighters treated the injuries with gels while waiting for an ambulance.
And Ilford firefighter Dave Neicho said that over the Jubile bank holiday, he and his colleagues battled to keep two crash victims conscious for more than an hour after an accident in Upminster.
He told the Recorder firefighters gave oxygen to a man drifting in and out of consciousness and treated a serious head injury, and said they were running out of oxygen cylinders by the time an ambulance turned up.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) said it was initially told the victims were not in a life-threatening condition and would have treated the incident as high priority if it had known the situation.
Mr Neicho, the Ilford chairman of the Fire Brigade Union, said someone could die if the shortage of ambulances continues.
He added: “It’s not something that happens constantly but it happens too often.”
An LAS spokesman said the service had seen a 10 per cent increase in serious incidents in the past year – up from 11,300 in Redbridge in 2010/11 to 12,470.
He added: “As calls come into our control room, we prioritise them so that we go to those patients in the most serious conditions first.
“To ensure that an ambulance is available for those who need us most, we urge the people of Ilford with less serious illnesses and minor injuries to consider other healthcare providers in the community.”
The service has axed 151 of its 4,600 staff over the last year.
The London Fire Brigade declined to comment.