Due to heavily overstretched NHS Ambulance services the South East Coast NHS has stopped all paramedic support for venues and airports to focus on 999 response services instead.
Offering a sign of how overstretched and stressed NHS services are and what could be an increasing UK trend to cut more NHS services because of Government Austerity policies from the last 10 years of Conservative rule.
The South East Coast ambulance service (Secamb) has ended a longstanding arrangement under which Gatwick paid it to have an ambulance car and paramedic on site.
It has also decided to limit the number of ambulances and paramedics on standby to deal with medical emergencies at Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium and Goodwood racecourse in West Sussex. It may do the same in other places.
Secamb’s move has prompted speculation that other ambulance services may reduce or end resources at mass spectator events and focus on “core” work. England’s 10 regional ambulance services are under pressure to speed up response times, which have been growing across England, and tackle the growing number of patients who have to wait hours for a crew to arrive, despite in some cases suffering a life-threatening emergency.
For many years Gatwick paid Secamb to have an ambulance car and paramedic at the airport, providing medical cover at both its terminals. The arrangement ended in 2020 when the Covid pandemic saw passenger numbers plummeting. With more people travelling again, Gatwick wanted to restart the service but Secamb declined, citing the need to concentrate on providing speedy care for the population it serves across Kent, Surrey, Sussex and north-east Hampshire.
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