Friday 20 November 2020

UPDATED: 999: Join the battle to save Wembley Ambulance Station from imminent closure

The London Ambulance service has given notice to its staff that they intend to close Wembley ambulance station as of the 1st Dec 2020 and relocate the resource to Kenton ambulance station.


This closure will leave a gulf in-between Kenton and Wembley that will be substantial, especially on event days. This gulf will also be impacted by the closure of Greenford, Ruislip, and Hayes ambulance stations, meaning the distance and time to get to critically ill patients will increase within the North of London area. 


The closure would occur in  the middle of a pandemic at a time of peak winter illness and falls, in a multi-racial community suffering from disproportionate numbers of Covid19 cases. A resource is being taken away from an area with a rapidly growing population as the result of high-rise developments In Alperton, Wembley Central and Wembley Park – areas close to the ambulance station.

Unison sets out its concerns:

1.We are concerned that Brent has one of the fastest growing populations in London, with a significant projected change in population in the two largest developments closest to Wembley Ambulance station will increase the population in the area by an average of 129%. 


Additionally, the borough’s population is projected to continue to grow by an expected 25%. This population explosion is greater than any other London borough.


These figures are compounded by the fact that the electoral ward is ranked 7th out of 317 in London for size and density of the population and sits high as one of the most deprived areas of London. Meaning that timely access to health care is paramount, which Wembley’s current location offers to our community.


The service believes that the impact of removing Wembley ambulance station will be minimal but I feel that they have not factored in the other surrounding station closures or the significant growth of the borough of Brent but also its surrounding boroughs.


2. Health & Social Care Act (2012), states that there is a requirement to consult the local community before the proposed withdrawal of NHS services:


·         Reduce inequalities between patients with respect to their ability to access health services

·         Reduce inequalities between patients with respect to the outcomes achieved for them.

·         Promote the involvement of patients and their carers in decisions about provision of the health services to them

 ·         Enable patients to make choices with respect to aspects of health services provided to them


The Health & Social Care Act (2012) places a requirement upon the London Ambulance Service NHS trust in engage with the communities it serves.


It is vital that the service is intelligence and evidence led when commissioning services to meet the needs of the communities. Currently we have not directly involved our local community and allowed them to directly influence our day-to-day work. This engagement needs to  be relevant and reflective of the population and based on up-to-date information from the trust and stakeholder’s and partners.


The current policy also fails to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act (2010), particularly in relation to Equality Delivery System (EDS2). The London Ambulance Service is failing to attain equality of care whilst not meeting an individual’s human rights goals. These goals include, but not limited to: 


·         Improved patient access and experience

·         Empowered, engaged and well supported staff


To make EDS2 work, it is extremely important that the community is involved in any process, thus ensuring that we meet the needs of groups that have “protected characteristics”.


The removal of Wembley ambulance station denies the community a timely access to care thus tarnishing the patient experience and their impression of the London Ambulance service within the communities we serve. Especially with the closure of the surrounding stations.


3. The initial move of staff to Kenton was to aid the services response to the pandemic, we fully supported the service in this with the expectation that all staff would be returned to Wembley station one pressure on the service reduces.


We accept that the service should remain in a ‘state of readiness’. However, we have already proved our flexibility and ‘agility’ and that we can re-consolidate ‘overnight’ if the service becomes under significant pressure again due to a) increasing numbers of seriously ill patients and b) impact on resourcing due to high staff absences.


However, things have changed over the past weeks and with the service seemingly attempting to speed up the estate consolidation process with a flagrant disregard to how this will impact on the staff members or the communities we serve.


Wembley station is fully serviceable and has passed all Health & Safety inspections, meeting the Government Covid compliance requirements which would ease the overcrowding concerns by consolidation of stations on the group.


To oppose the closure please write to your local Brent MP, spread the information via social media and feedback to the ambulance service with your views

 Cllr Ketan Sheth, Chair of Brent Council Scrutiny Committee, tweeted a comitment to scrutinise the decision shortly after details were pub lished in the Kilburn Times. He is concerned about the lack of consultaion with local people and councillors.


 Note:  Carolyn Downs is the Chief Executive of Brent Council

Advocates of the closure proposal are arguing that Wembley has been operating for a while from Kenton during Covid19 and the arrangement has worked well without any impact on  efficiency and call-out times. Having them all at one base to prepare the vehicles for the shift has proved beneficial. Vehicles do not normally return to base but go from job to job from dispersed positions. Wembley has been subject to flooding and the landlord wants to surrender the lease in December.

Responding the Unison representative said:

The people of Wembley deserve a dedicated Ambulance station and have benefited from it presence for over 45 years on its current site.The ongoing growth in the Borough and the further closure of Ambulance Stations neighbouring Wembley will leave large gaps in cover and could increase waiting times for the most seriously unwell patients.

There was an escape of water in the station. The station has been inspected and no H&S concerns have been raised and still has the ability to re open and be fully operational. 

We are ready to return and continue to serve our local community. 

The move of Wembley to Kenton was meant to be a temporary measure to help the service in its fight against Covid-19,which we fully supported. 
This threat has not gone away and all NHS staff are still fighting! 
The staff are rightly proud to deliver high quality care in such difficult times. 

It is obvious that the impact has not been felt in efficiency and call times, as l suspect that this is a direct result of the  country being in lock down! 

Once life returns to normal and we can all attend concerts, football matches and enjoy a meal out the entire Wembley area will be back to normal, gridlocked with thousands of people in the area on event days! I would imagine the impact of closing Ambulance stations will then be felt by the patients and the public alike.

The Ambulance Service has elected to close the station before the lease is up in April 2021 and are yet to provide any evidence that the landlord wants the station off the land.

The Mayor of Brent fully supports the re-opening of Wembley Ambulance station as do community groups.







Anonymous said...

I live a couple of minutes drive away from Kenton Ambulance Station. I am lucky, because that probably saved my life.

Late one Saturday evening, about four years ago, I suffered a heart attack. My wife managed to convince the 999 operator that my condition was serious, and a paramedic from Kenton arrived a few minutes later.

The paramedic quickly sized up the situation, called Kenton for an ambulance. The ambulance arrived within a few minutes, and they alerted the coronary unit at Hammersmith Hospital that they would be bringing in an urgent case. They got me there as quickly as they could, and the Hammersmith emergency team were ready for me.

The paramedic and ambulance crew from Kenton were fantastic. But what if I had lived in, say, Sudbury, and Wembley Ambulance Station had been closed, as is proposed? Would the paramedic, and then the ambulance, from Kenton (Kingsbury Circle) have been in time to save me from death, or serious long term damage to my health?

Closing Wembley, and other, ambulance stations would be a big mistake, especially with the growing population and more congested roads in our part of London.

Just as closing a number of fire stations, during Boris Johnson's time as Mayor of London, was a big mistake.

Anonymous said...

At a time like this we should be making sure that our NHS services have all the support and resources they need to help us all through the pandemic. Cutting the amount of open stations is only going to add to the stress they already face on a daily basis and in turn out a strain on their ability to cope with the ever increasing need for services they are providing. £12bn is being put toward our defence systems, yet the people that are saving lives on a daily basis are facing cuts, hardly seems well thought out to me

Anonymous said...

This is pathetic

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Shutting so many stations during a pandemic? Not only will it delay the infected from getting all relevant treatment (and of course non-COVID treatment), it’s going to put even more immense pressure on the NHS? Pathetic

Anonymous said...

At a time like this, the ambulance service is vital, putting their own lives on the line to save others. Yet they want to make their jobs harder by throwing an obstruction in the way of a job that’s already hard enough. Not only does this effect the welfare of medics , it also effects the welfare of the community not to mention other emergency services around the area that rely on such support from colleagues. The spread of the virus would also increase, cramming more people into a smaller work space and putting people’s loved ones at risk. Medics are returning to work although high risk to help those that are suffering within their community’s and the service seem to be doing nothing to support the staff and look after them and instead putting them in more danger working out of crowded stations. Not only this, the community would suffer with response time being longer and then the service would want answers as to why their medics are not meeting response times? Well this would be the outcome of such actions.

Anonymous said...

Not very COVID friendly cramming medics into overcrowded stations? Also response time will be effected and more people in the community will suffer

K Harvey said...

In a time where health support is so crucial to the survival of the country this is closure that will have the complete adverse affect and it is genuinely perplexing to think that the government can even consider risking not only the careers of the people that work for this but even the lives of those that otherwise would’ve been saved if this were to not go ahead.

Anonymous said...

It is perplexing to think that at a time like this when the healthcare sector is so vital to the survival of our country that the government would consider not only risking the careers and livelihoods of those who work to save lives but also the lives of those who would have otherwise been saved if this closure was to not go ahead.

Sparkle1 said...

I think it's outrageous you are trying to stuff everyone into one station!! Vodka safe everyone!!! What happened to being safe??? This isn't safe!

Brooke said...

Definitely not what we need in a time like this. Lots of people losing their jobs during this time is not good

Anonymous said...

It makes no sense and I find it quite inhumane that the people who are risking their lives day in day out are the people who are facing the most cuts during this difficult time. Not well thought through and everyone will see the consequences in the long run. We should be coming together, supporting one another in a time like this.

Anonymous said...

Running the ambulance service from Kenton might have worked during lockdown but there was no traffic on the road - what about now when there are more people driving after lockdown as they don't want to use public transport, the roads have been hugely busy - and what about when the traffic is completely grid locked due to events at Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena???

It makes no sense at all to close the Wembley Ambulance station - even if the lease in the building is due to end there must surely be space for an ambulance station within all the new developments in Wembley and Alperton - we have more people than ever before, more retail outlets, additional schools - we should be improving our health services not cutting them!!!