A new report out today from Joanne McCartney AM has found that more than half of Londoners felt ‘fairly’ or ‘very unconfident’ that London’s emergency services are coping under the pressure of cuts and increased demand. The “Emergency Services: Casualty of Cuts?” report warned that the capital’s emergency services face reaching crisis point without adequate funding from Government over coming years.
A survey of almost 1,500 Londoners carried out for the report found that the majority (57%), felt unconfident that emergency services were coping with the increased demand with only 18% of respondents saying they were ‘fairly’ or ‘very confident’. The report comes just a week after the capital’s population was reported to have hit a record 8.6m, the report’s author, Joanne McCartney AM, said Government needed to ensure that the capital’s emergency services are given the funding they need to meet rapidly increasing demands.
The report suggests that a combination of increased demand, population growth and cuts to services risked undermining the emergency services’ ability to respond effectively. Ms McCartney also warned that the closure of 65 police stations, 10 fire stations and four A&Es since 2010, with a further three A&Es expected to close this year, showed the capital’s emergency services had already been forced to make deep savings which were having a frontline effect.
The latest statistics highlighted in the report from each of the capital’s emergency services paint a worrying picture:
- The percentage of ambulances hitting the eight minute response time target dropped from 81% in March 2014 to only 48% by December 2014
- Fire engine response times are up in over half of the capital’s wards since the 10 fire station closures in January
- 5,133 police officers cut from boroughs since May 2010 and violent crime on the rise
Labour’s London Assembly Crime Spokesperson Joanne McCartney AM said:
“Everyone relies on the emergency services to be there when they need them. With over half of Londoners now expressing concern about the emergency services’ ability to cope, we need Government to recognise that blue light services cannot become the casualties of cuts.
“London’s population is already at a record high and is set to grow even further in coming years. Over the past five years our emergency infrastructure has been stretched with many of the capital’s A&E departments, police and fire stations closed and services now struggling to hit their targets. With the emergency services warning of further budget cuts on the horizon we have to be clear to Government, whoever is in power, that the burden of cuts cannot fall so heavily that our emergency services are unable to cope.”
- A copy of the ‘Emergency Services: Casualty of Cuts?’ report from Joanne McCartney AM is available here.
- Joanne McCartney is the Labour London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey.