NHS Ambulance Service Reduces Presence at Gatwick Airport and Sports Venues | NHS

An NHS ambulance service is reducing its presence at Gatwick Airport and major sporting events to have more crews available to respond to 999 calls, amid unprecedented pressure.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) has ended a long-standing agreement under which Gatwick paid it to have an ambulance and paramedic on site.

It has also decided to limit the number of ambulances and paramedics on standby to deal with medical emergencies at Premier League club Brighton and the Amex Stadium in Hove Albion and Goodwood Racecourse in West Sussex. He can do the same in other places.

Secamb’s decision sparked speculation that other ambulance services could cut or end resources at mass events and focus on “essential” work. England’s 10 regional ambulance services are under pressure to speed up response times, which have increased across England, and cope with growing numbers of patients who have to wait hours for a crew to arrive, although that they suffer in some cases from a life-threatening emergency.

For many years, Gatwick paid Secamb for an ambulance and a paramedic at the airport, offering medical coverage in its two terminals. The arrangement ended in 2020 when the pandemic Covid saw passenger numbers drop. With more people traveling again, Gatwick wanted to restart the service but Secamb refused, citing the need to focus on providing timely care to the population it serves in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and north -is Hampshire.

The Secamb confirmed it was reviewing the level of coverage it provided during mass rallies and events in stadiums to focus on improving its response time to calls to 999. There are more one ambulance and one member of staff on duty at the stadium Amex. Sources of Secamb said the organizations concerned should increase its redesign private medical coverage other providers.

“Recognizing the challenges we and other ambulance trusts are currently facing, we are reviewing the private medical coverage contracts we have to ensure we are providing fair and equitable service to all, regardless of disability. ‘where people are in our region,’ a spokesperson for the trust said.

“We will keep the matter under review and would like to reassure everyone who frequents places affected by these changes that they will continue to receive emergency medical assistance if needed.”

The Unison union, which represents 400,000 members of NHS staff, including ambulance personnel, supported the decision Secamb. “The football grounds and racecourses should provide their own medical care on site, freeing struggling teams to focus on the 999 callers who desperately need their help,” said Josh Cooper, south regional organizer -is Unison.

“Before the pandemic, the less stressed ambulance services often covered sporting events. But now the system is under pressure so intense that it can only cover emergency calls, much less anything else.

A Secamb paramedic claimed the loss of Gatwick’s ambulance car would prove counterproductive as the service now has to send staff to every emergency. Speaking anonymously, the paramedic said: ‘Most jobs at the airport were falls, drunks and minor injuries so they could either be treated and sent on holiday or asked to take a taxi to the local hospital without the use of an ambulance. Now the airport will call 999 and an ambulance will have to show up, adding to the workload.

He said a recent Saturday evening Secamb had to send an ambulance to Gatwick after each of four different calls, which proved to be all related to the same medical situation. “If the ambulance care” Gatso “had always existed, the four tasks could be supported by the service person.”

NHS England declined to comment.

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