A serving paramedic from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) has told LBC that a patient he was responding to died after he was ‘delayed by a Low Traffic Neighbourhood’.
The paramedic, who has not been named, told the national radio station that, whilst responding to the emergency call in east London, his progress was hindered by LTN flower planters obstructing the road.
He also claimed that one-way systems not logged in his in-car satellite navigation added to his 15-minute response time.
Also contributing to his extended delay were road-works and the subsequent “nightmare” build-up of traffic thanks to all these measures.
The paramedic said that he believed that the patient – who he described as “young” and “otherwise fit and healthy” might have survived if he had not been held up.
He told LBC:
“Cardiac arrest is the ultimate thing; your heart has stopped working, your body is literally dying.
“Without immediate interventions, your chances of survival are very poor; you have about three minutes.
“And – I came across an LTN, I was trying to use my maps to get around them, but… it cost me an extra 15 minutes to get there.”
He added: “That delay in getting there, I am absolutely certain impacted their survival.”
A spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service said:
“Patient safety is our highest priority, and to date, we have not been made aware of any fatalities involving Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes.
“If ambulance crews have any information around delays to responding to incidents, they should report it via the appropriate internal channels, so it can be raised urgently with the relevant London agency or authority.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said:
“LTNs are council schemes, and London’s emergency services are engaging with local authorities across the city to raise any concerns and have encouraged staff to report any issues or delays.
“City Hall and TfL are helping ensure that the work of the emergency services is not compromised by changes to road layouts by setting up an Emergency Services Working Group, which is given advanced information of where changes are planned and their feedback is taken on board in the design and monitoring.
“In some cases, feedback has resulted in camera enforced closures being put in place instead of physical closures to maintain access for emergency services at all times, with TfL contributing to the cost of these cameras.
“None of the measures that have been put in place will be made permanent without consultation, and in areas where LTNs aren’t working for all road users we are encouraging councils to tweak or amend their plans as necessary.”
Penny Rees, TfL’s Head of Healthy Streets Investment, said:
“We fully appreciate how important it is for paramedics to be able to move around the capital quickly and efficiently and we’re determined to make sure that London’s road network continues to support their lifesaving work.
“Enabling more people to walk and cycle is vital to avoiding a growth in congestion, and therefore response times, and is also making a real difference to public health and air quality.
“We meet frequently with the boroughs and the emergency services to provide advanced information of where schemes are planned and any changes to road layouts.
“We’ve taken their feedback on board in the design and monitoring of schemes and continue to encourage the use of cameras rather than physical measures, to ensure that access is maintained at all times.”
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