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!”

13 thoughts on “Broken”

  1. I passed an ambulance being loaded onto a tow truck on the A13 just before the new Beckton flyover at about 0230 this morning – not a good time or place to break down!

  2. That'll be one of the ambos I was looking out the window at then…Part of the problem is that the fitters aren't allowed to do overtime at the moment (because of trying to save some money) – yet they have to employ agency staff…


  3. Sorry, but although I understand individually every word of your comment (apart from what BA and REME means) I have little idea what you mean.Is it something to do with the Army?

  4. Lol….I'm glad I'm not alone in not understanding that one! I think REME is Royal elecrical & mechanical engineers but apart from that I'm lost. :o/

  5. Arghh…the same issues our service faced a few years ago as we migrated away from the notorious DAF/LDV's to Mercedes. Rest assured the issues with Mercedes will improve over time. I wonder when someone will develop a vehicle specifically designed for ambulance use (not just convert a delivery van). KISS seems to all to often miss the brains of vehicle designers. I must admit though…a vehicle tail lift? What's wrong with drop leg style stretchers for your main running stretcher? They aren't too hard on your back and certainly avoid having a big heavy truck like tail lift. Hmmnn?

  6. BA- British Army of the Middle East _ REME. Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers.[They were the gezzers That that 'pose to fix anything that could move, that is of the wheel and track variety{ otherwise salute it}] The sand trays were metal sheets put down on the sand to get traction. [Champs were Rolls engined Austins[ we had the snorkel versions for crossing the Sinai], pre Humvees to replace the Land Rovers that did not rove too far]. I heard that when there is foot of snow on the motor way, it takes a day to get from Newport to Cambridge, so I thought that maybe you would would have these trays to get down the road across the pot holes etc. . Just a thought as things do not change when it comes to the Civil Service and its good ideas. Mind you the vehicles were nice and shining for inspection but fit to travel , that was another department's responsibilities.

  7. Aha! I understand now, although for tooling around Hackney a tracked vehicle would be of more use – actually a tank would be perfectly suited.Intresting about the 'nice and shiney for inspection' bit, as the LAS are bringing in outside contractors to 'make ready' the motors – that is to clean and stock them, and every so often give them a 'Deep Clean'. It's needed, but I rather have then running first.

  8. I prefer the drop stretchers…you can get trolleys on and off quickly and as you say they aren't that heavy. The trolleys with the Mercs weight a tonne. The problem is that Health and Safety has seen the amount (and type) of lifting we do daily and has made noises to management about back injuries and more importantly back injury claims.I mean, management have their heart in the right place, but the implementation, as usual, leaves a lot to be desired.

  9. You should encourage one of the fitters to start a blog on how he spends his life saving lives because he fixes ambulances……Do you think the problems are to do with the state of the roads in London or the poor quality of the ambulances?

  10. My thoughts…if you are debating between a taxi and an ambulance you probably only want transport and therefore don't need an ambulance!

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