|Will Boris Save London's Emergency Services?
Reduction in provision in the capital due to central government cuts
London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi questioned Mayor of London Boris Johnson about cuts to the London Ambulance Service and London’s vital emergency services at Mayor’s Question Time this week. Londoners are facing a dramatic reduction in Police, Fire, Ambulance and A&E provision in the capital due to central government cuts.
Assembly Member Murad Qureshi asked the Mayor if he had made any representations to the on the impact on Londoners of cuts to the London Ambulance Service?
The Mayor was challenged over his failure to speak up for the NHS in London and protect A&E departments from closure. Despite repeatedly campaigning for tax cuts for millionaires the Mayor has refused to lobby government to keep A&E units open as he says it is outside of his remit.
The London Ambulance Service is losing £53 million – 19% of its budget by 2015/16. The current plans are to cut 890 of the 5,000 jobs at the LAS, of which 560 will be frontline staff. This will likely be achieved by natural turnover, which will lead to many posts being unfilled. Last year the LAS dealt with 1.6 million calls in London.
The Mayor of London was also challenged on:
Local London Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi, said:“While the A&Es are being cut, no provisions have been made for the vast increase in ambulance journeys which will undoubtedly be made. It’s only a matter of time when these cuts take hold that tragedies will happen.
“We are dismayed by the way the mayor has disenfranchised local residents on the matter of NHS changes and A&E closures in our area. At Mayor’s Question Time Boris denied any responsibility or support for the hundreds and thousands of residents who are campaigning and genuinely concerned about the closure of the A&Es in their area.
“London’s emergency services are facing a crisis, the police, fire brigade, ambulance and A&E departments are all being cut back. This will leave London with less blue-light coverage. At a time when London’s emergency services are already stretched this simply does not make sense. London’s population is also forecast to grow to 9 million people - how will the emergency services cope?
“Our emergency services and their dedicated staff do a fantastic job keeping us safe and helping us when we are at our most vulnerable. The government are cutting too far and too fast, fundamentally undermining the emergency services ability to do their job. It’s time that the Mayor stood up for Londoners and got a better deal from central government.”