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23.06.16

Mayor rejects calls to bring London Ambulance Service under GLA control

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) will not be brought under the control of the Greater London Authority (GLA) despite severe criticism.

The LAS became the first ambulance service to be placed in special measures by the CQC after an inspection rated it ‘inadequate’, raising concerns that ambulances were taking too long to respond to calls and didn’t have enough trained paramedics and equipment.

During a mayor’s question time session at the London Assembly yesterday, assembly member Dr Onkar Sahota asked: “At a time when London's resilience could be tested from anything from a deadly new virus to a major terrorist attack do you think it is time to bring the LAS under your strategic control in the same way other blue services are run?”

Sahota also called the problems with the LAS “symbolic of what’s happening in the NHS”.

Khan rejected the proposal, saying: “I can see the benefit of all blue light services working more closely together and I will see what more we can do on this, but the link of London’s Ambulance Service and London’s NHS is important and there is a concern, as I understand, that this relationship risks being damaged if it is stripped out and brought totally under GLA control.”

However, he added that the GLA would try to scrutinise the LAS to see how it could be improved.

“I believe there is a case for us collectively to have a greater role in scrutinising their performance and holding the London Ambulance Service to account, because it is clear that it has been underperforming for some time now,” he said.

Khan also said that over the next two years, he would implement a programme from Cardiff for hospitals and police to share anonymised data about knife crime victims in A&E.

He rejected a suggestion from assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who ran against him for mayor as the Liberal Democrat candidate, that all A&Es should have a youth worker to help knife crime victims.

Khan suggested she contribute the proposal to deputy mayor Joanne McCartney’s crime and policing plan.

In the same session, Khan said that he would question Dr Anne Rainsberry, the NHS England regional director for London, over concerns about treatment at the North Middlesex A&E.

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