Skip to content

UPDATE at 6.30pm – Severe pressure on 999 service continues

To be attributed to Deputy Director of Operations Jason Killens:

“We are still under severe pressure and expect this to increase over the next few hours as a result of today’s industrial action.

“There are still a number of patients who are waiting for an ambulance response and it is more important than ever for Londoners to only dial 999 for an ambulance if somebody’s life is in danger.

“We are sorry for any delays people are facing, and patients who call with minor illnesses or injuries such as stomach upsets or cuts and bruises will not be sent an ambulance response.

“We have asked unions to encourage their members to return to work as normal or increase their emergency cover, as per the agreement with UNISON and GMB.”

– Ends –

Notes to editors

  • Some of our staff taking part in industrial action and responding to patients are providing ‘emergency cover’.
  • This afternoon, around 73 per cent of staff are working in the control room answering calls and dispatching ambulances, and about 58 per cent of staff are either working as normal responding to patients or providing emergency cover.
  • Emergency cover is the level of service that unions and the Service have agreed staff working in frontline roles can provide while still supporting industrial action.
  • Under the emergency cover arrangements agreed with unions, staff who work on the road treating patients will only respond to the most seriously ill and injured patients and will not go to patients with minor conditions such as upset stomachs or cuts and bruises.
  • Staff who work in the control room will still answer 999 calls and dispatch ambulances, but their duties will be limited so they will not carry out a number of administrative functions such as recording turnaround times at hospitals.
  • Our patient transport service that takes people to hospital appointments will operate a reduced service. The only journeys to go ahead as normal will be those for high-dependency patients such as those needing dialysis or cancer care.

For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.

Find out more about the London Ambulance Service at or follow us on Twitter at