One of the main problems with the LAS at the moment is the lack of vehicles, in the past this has come to mean that there is not enough staff to man the vehicles that we have, or fill the rota to maintain safe cover over our area. Lately however we haven't had the vehicles physically present. At the moment, for I am typing this from work, I am looking out the window at the fitters, whose job it is to maintain the fleet in our area of London. There are 13 ambulances waiting to be fixed. There are three crews sitting on station, unable to take any calls because their vehicle has broken down. Someone has just visited us in the staff car (a nice little Corsa), and on attempting to leave its clutch has broken.
Today I took an ambulance from West Ham over to Poplar to replace a vehicle whose steering had broken. Then two management brought over a spare vehicle from Newham for me to work on – a vehicle that had just been fixed for a broken rear suspension.
(Let me tell you, riding on an ambulance with no suspension is an 'interesting' experience – you get thrown around and the cupboards fly open spraying bandages and other, less soft, equipment around the cabin)
This 'fixed' ambulance lasted three jobs before the suspension died again and I was bouncing around the cabin. It also stalled if you closed the choke.
So now I'm sitting on station twiddling my thumbs, unable to continue my daily grind of
saving lives picking up drunks.
The Fleet is just falling to bits, the new Mercedes have faults developing around the 5,000 miles mark and the tail lifts are extremely temperamental (like my experience yesterday, they fail at the worst possible moment). The LAS needs a cash injection so that it can have a fleet of basic, but reliable ambulances, fully equipped and fully manned.
In a change of subject I met some American student nurses outside the Royal London today – They were interested in how the LAS was run. As I'm starting to get some idea of self-promotion I chatted to them for a while and then pointed them in the direction of this blog. If you are one of those nurses – “Hi there!”