- The London Mayor said people with minor fractures should call a cab
- Remarks come amid growing pressure on accident and emergency wards
- Emergency call-outs in the capital are already 16% higher than last year
Boris Johnson has urged people to take a taxi to hospital – instead of calling an ambulance.
The London Mayor said those with minor fractures or sprains should take themselves to A&E to keep ambulances for emergencies.
Mr Johnson’s remarks come amid growing pressure on accident and emergency wards even before the expected surge of alcohol-fuelled injuries over Christmas and New Year.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said people with minor fractures or sprains should take themselves to A&E to keep ambulances for emergencies
The London mayor told the Evening Standard: ‘The message is simple – celebrate responsibly and only call an ambulance in a genuine emergency.’
Emergency call-outs in the capital are already 16 per cent higher this month than in December 2013.
Some ambulances are being held up waiting to offload sick patients at overstretched A&Es, which are struggling to cope with the increasing number of people dialling 999 for help rather than waiting to see their family doctor.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The London Ambulance Service is doing an incredible job responding to Londoners at an increasingly busy time of year.
‘That demand puts huge pressure on the men and women in the front line, emergency service operators, paramedics, ambulance technicians, police officers, firefighters and staff on our public transport network.
‘Over the festive period and across the winter I know the public will heed the emergency services calls for restraint when it comes to calling an ambulance.’
Labour said Mr Johnson’s call reflected an underlying crisis in the NHS.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘People should be responsible but London’s ambulance service needs more help than this from senior Tories.
‘This is a crisis of their making and it is no good trying to blame the public.
‘All year, ambulances in the capital have failed to get to the most critical calls in time and the service is struggling without enough paramedics.’
Mr Burnham’s remarks come amid warnings A&E departments face being overwhelmed at Christmas by lonely, elderly people, Britain’s most senior casualty doctor said last night.
The warning from Professor Keith Willett came as Care Minister Norman Lamb urged Britons to care for isolated neighbours to prevent the UK becoming a ‘neglectful society’.
Professor Willett, the director for acute care for NHS England, said the impact of loneliness on older people could cause a major spike in admissions to A&E.
Studies show sick people left alone over the festive period are more likely to go to casualty with worse problems. He urged any who are ill to call their pharmacist, GP or the NHS 111 helpline for advice, adding: ‘Don’t end up in A&E please.’
A&E departments are in crisis. Fewer than 90 per cent of patients were seen within four hours at casualty in the week up to December 14 – the worst week on record.
Last night, the charity Age UK warned that nearly 400,000 people aged at least 65 were worried about being lonely this Christmas. In England, 51 per cent of all people over 75 live alone and 5million older people say the television is their main companion.
Recent town hall cuts mean more councils are only sending carers round for 15-minute visits, even though this is often a pensioner’s only contact in a week.
Research shows loneliness and social isolation are harmful to physical health. Studies indicate that lack of social connections is as likely to cause early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Source: Daily Mail