Last month London MPs received another plea from the London Ambulance Service asking us to encourage constituents to only dial 999 in a true emergency. It always amazes me that they should have to make this appeal when it should be obvious that someone with a twisted ankle, a cut finger or an acute dental pain does not need an emergency ambulance.
They are changing the way they respond to 999 calls. They will be directing people to NHS111 for advice on how to get more appropriate assistance or giving additional clinical advice over the phone. It’s also vital that people register with a GP as this should be the first line of enquiry.
In addition to changing responses the service needs to recruit more front-line staff. UK advertising has not brought a sufficient response so jobs have been offered to 140 paramedics in Australia and New Zealand. In an effort to retain staff more attention will be given to career and educational opportunities.
Saving lives means more people are living and working longer. Saga have produced a very interesting piece of research showing that this extension of peoples’ working lives has surprisingly enhanced the employment opportunities of all age groups and in particular young people. Rather than blocking jobs for the young, older people’s spending and taxes support some 5.7 million full time equivalent jobs in the UK including 878,000 16-24 year olds. The reason for this is that again, perhaps surprisingly, older people spend more of their earnings than any other age group. They also spend a higher proportion on services that employ younger workers.
So things are not always what they seem. And on that note, perhaps UKIP could acknowledge the huge contribution East Europeans are making to keeping London’s vital public services going for the rest of us.