This report outlines the view of respondents who took part in the Why Accident and Emergency project which Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham carried out.
We looked into the London Ambulance Service after receiving concerns from members of the public.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) in the BHR area ( Barking & Dagenham Havering and Redbridge) currently has over 165 frontline staff across several shift patterns.
Although the cover varies across days of the week (based on historical/planning data), as an average there are:
- 15 early (6am-4pm) ambulances and 5 fast response cars,
- 6 late (2pm-10pm) ambulances and 2 fast response cars and
- 8 night (10pm-6am) ambulances and 3 fast response cars.
During our enquiry we found the following themes:
- There is a difference in views between the managers and the staff within the London Ambulance Service.
- The effectiveness of NHS 111 is disputed by staff. However, Healthwatch is not in a place to comment on the service as we were not given any official figures from the PELC.
- The general feeling is that the LAS service is good. A minority of people complain and when so, service users are generally unhappy with the waiting time. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding about what a life-threatening emergency really is.
- Barking and Dagenham has a growing population with high health needs.
- Transfer times from an ambulance to A&E are problematic at local hospitals and a cause of frustration for the staff.
Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham carried out a number of engagement sessions, in various public settings, with the local community. We asked for peoples’ views andopinions concerning proposals put forward by Barking & Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about urgent care services and the closure of the walk-in service at Broad Street Medical Centre. The consultation period set by the CCG for their proposal ends on 21st May 2013.
We spoke to 200 people, the main themes of the findings are higlighted below:
- 85% of respondents said they would perfer to see their GP rather then access an urgent care service.
- Almost 70% of people said they did not want Broad Street walk-in service to be closed.
- There was fear and concern that sufficient alternative urgent care services would not be in place.
- Over 50% of respondents did not know of any other urgent care services apart from those at Broad Street walk-in centre.
- The report highlights that the public are unaware and confused about what urgent care is available and when it should be used.