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London Ambulance Service training centre for emergency call handlers opens in Barking

PUBLISHED: 15:26 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 14 August 2020

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan toured the new London Ambulance training centre in Barking on Friday, August 14. Picture: Mayor of London's press office

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan toured the new London Ambulance training centre in Barking on Friday, August 14. Picture: Mayor of London's press office

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A new training centre for London Ambulance Service call handlers has been opened by the Mayor of London in Barking.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London Ambulance Service chief executive Garrett Emmerson with staff outside the Barking emergency call training centre. Picture: Mayor of London's press officeMayor of London Sadiq Khan and London Ambulance Service chief executive Garrett Emmerson with staff outside the Barking emergency call training centre. Picture: Mayor of London's press office

The high-tech centre will help the LAS to train more people to take life-saving emergency calls and boost access to its vital service during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as enhancing the NHS 111 service for east London.

Over the next four months, more than 150 people will be trained at the interactive 999 and 111 call training centre.

Sadiq Khan toured the facility on Friday, August 14 and met some of the frontline paramedics and emergency and urgent care staff who have been at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.

“We’ve seen during Covid the heroism of the NHS, but actually LAS were at the core of that,” Mr Khan told the Post.

“During normal times, they send out on average 5,500 ambulances a day but during the height of the pandemic, there were more than 11,000 daily calls for ambulances.

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“But the workload of the call handlers trebled, and that’s why it’s really important to have a pipeline of talent coming through.”

Calls to 111 in north east and south east London also tripled at the busiest period.

An extra 150 ambulances have also been put on London streets to help deal with an expected rise in demand in the months ahead.

“What we’ve got to make sure is we’ve prepared as much as we can before further surges of the pandemic but also the winter challenges that there is for the NHS,” Mr Khan said.

“Previous years have shown us that the NHS does suffer from a winter crisis, for a variety of reasons – starved of investment and support, but also challenges with people getting sick.

“We’re trying to do what we can to take the pressure off the A&Es and the health service, because winter is coming and we could also have a second wave (of coronavirus).”

He urged people to get the flu jab and to use the 111 NHS website or book a GP appointment if they need assurance or advice about health issues.

LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson said: “These safe, Covid-19 compliant facilities will hugely enhance our training for 999 and 111 call handlers and will help staff meet the challenges of the winter months and any potential surges in Covid-19.”


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