London ambulance to use volunteers for 999 calls

Volunteers could be responding to urgent 999 calls in London within weeks as the London Ambulance Service attempts to further tackle mounting delays.

As revealed in board papers at the end of March, the pilot scheme will focus on people who fall into ‘category three’, where they require a response within two hours, and need extra help because of mobility problems. This can include late stages of labour, abdominal pains, and diabetes where patients can be treated in their own home.

Nationally, ambulance response times are at the worst level ever recorded.

The London Ambulance Service said trained volunteers already respond to 999 calls in their own car alongside ambulances, but confirmed that such volunteers would now be deployed for lower-category calls in some instances and take patients to hospital.

The pilot will use 22 volunteers, trained by St John Ambulance and termed ‘community first responders’. They will be based out of six ambulance stations across the capital.

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