Concern as police fill in as ambulances fail to arrive

The day-to-day activties of a Havering police unit.
A police car outside a house that was believed

The day-to-day activties of a Havering police unit. A police car outside a house that was believed to have been burgled, however it was a false alarm. - Credit: Archant

Police say they are often forced to take patients to hospital because ambulances are unavailable.

Chief Constable Simon Cole, the national policing lead for local policing and partnerships, is looking into a consultation with ambulance services over this situation.

He said: “I am concerned that police officers on occasion are having to transport people to hospital when they should not have to do so because there isn’t ambulance availability.

“It is not uncommon and we are working hard to understand why this is happening and will do so with the ambulance service.”

The NHS strikes that took place on Monday also put an additional strain on the police in Redbridge.

During the industrial action 150 Metropolitan police officers were driving or crewing ambulances in London while accompanied LAS personnel including medically trained professionals.

Commander Peter Terry, head of the police operation, said: “The Met is often called upon to offer help to people of London and this is one of those times.”

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However police are called upon during the day to day line of duty to take people to hospital because ambulances are busy with other calls.

Acting Det Ch Insp Neil Lemon for Ilford said: “It is an issue as the safety of the injured person is at risk.

“There is also a restriction on what [type of injury] we can take to hospital and how we move people, for example, we are not allowed to move head injuries.”

He added that as there are more police they are often first on the scene but do not have the same level of training as paramedics.

“We are all trained in emergency life support but when you call for an ambulance you would like one to arrive because it could be your own family needing it.”

Dr Anthony Marsh, chairman of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said: “Ambulance staff are working flat out to get to as many patients as quickly as possible.

“While ambulance trusts are recruiting and training more staff than ever before, it is important to remember that this takes time and there is likely to be continued pressure on both ambulance and police services in the coming months.”