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Olympic VIPs take fast lane leaving patients at risk | Sport | The Observer

Sick and vulnerable NHS patients will be left stranded in ambulances in traffic jams while dignitaries and sponsors race past in a fleet of expensive cars on specially designated lanes during the Olympics, healthcare providers fear.

Games organisers have been accused of risking people's health by banning the routine use by ambulances of the "Games lanes" introduced to ensure that VIPs can travel quickly to events. The decision to reject a request for access from NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, has led to a storm of anger. Medical Services, an independent business that transports patients for the health service, and whose clients include the hospitals closest to the Olympic stadium, says it fears that the ill, including those on dialysis, will be trapped in vehicles as London suffers unprecedented congestion, with traffic on key routes expected to slow to a crawl.

The Games lanes comprise 30 miles of road in central London on which only the "Olympic family" will be allowed to travel - athletes, officials and sponsors, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's. BMW has donated 4,000 3 and 5 series cars to be used during the Games. Following consultation with the NHS, ambulances will be allowed to use the lanes when they have their blue lights on, but critics say there are many urgent journeys that cannot justify the use of blue lights. They can only be employed in a genuine emergency and those entitled to use them generally require special training.

Leah Bevington, head of communication at Medical Services, expressed astonishment that even appeals for bus lanes to be opened up to ambulances and vehicles transporting patients had been rejected by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Olympic Organising Committee so that public transport was not held up at peak times. Bevington said: "This means that sick people, often elderly and frail, urgent blood supplies, oxygen, will all be made to wait in traffic with the rest of us. Congestion can be bad enough around London on a regular day so you can imagine that we are concerned that patients will be on a vehicle for much longer periods of time." She added: "As much as the NHS and everyone else is trying to run business as usual, without some help it won't happen."

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but they'#ll only be poor people, who don't matter. Whereas the special people, the 1% people, are important and so must be privileged, it's only fair and natural

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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