Response to BBC London news feature about 7 July incidents

Director of Operations Martin Flaherty said:

“In response to the London Assembly’s concerns about the evidence we have provided to their scrutiny committee, we would like to reassure them that we have not set out to mislead them about our communications issues on 7 July.

“We have never meant to give the impression that all went smoothly with communications on the day.

“We are still working with the Assembly as part of their scrutiny process, and we will give them the full picture of the issues we were faced with.

“The events of that day were unprecedented and we’re very proud of the way in which our staff responded so professionally and courageously in such difficult circumstances.

“Having said this, we recognise that there were lessons to be learned. We have been clear throughout that our managers were over-reliant on mobile phones, and we have since provided them with pagers, which are more resilient during major incidents.

“Technically our radios worked, though we have admitted that the volume of traffic on our radio system made it difficult for managers to get through and speak to the control room. We have made changes to our internal procedures to address these problems, and have reconfigured our major incident control room so we can deal more effectively with a number of simultaneous incidents. The Service has also been brought forward in the roll-out programme for a new national digital radio system for ambulance services, and this should be in place early in 2008.

“As far as communications at the scenes were concerned, these were maintained through the use of local hand portable radios issued to managers. The problems we experienced were in relaying information between the scenes and the control room, rather than between those working together at each of the sites, and so did not prevent our staff from providing life-saving treatment to those who were seriously injured in the blasts. Our managers are trained to run incidents in a self-contained way, and to use the resources at their disposal to manage the scene independently of our control room.

“While we accept that there were delays in getting the second wave of ambulances to the location of one of the bombings, it is also important to recognise that we transported over 400 patients from the five scenes within three hours. This is a testament to the skills of our staff and the way they handled this tremendously challenging situation.”

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