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NHS calls for young black Londoners to give blood and save lives

A new campaign is being launched to encourage young black Londoners to give blood and save lives. Currently half the country's black population lives in the country- and NHS Blood and Transport wants to recruit 7000 new black donors by 2020.

NHSBT aim to recruit 7,000 new black donors by 2020 Credit: PA

The black community makes up around 5% of the UK population - with about half living in London - but active black donors currently account for only 1% of blood donors. *

·NHSBT collects 1.8 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues

Rarer blood groupsinclude B+, Ro and RoR which are more common and more in-demand among black communities.

Female blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.

Inquest into death of doctor who died in Syria enters its second day

The inquest into the death of a London doctor who died in a Syrian prison last December enters its second day today. Abbas Khan -- who was from Streatham -- was being held by the Syrian government when he died.

Dr Abbas Khan's mother Fatima outside court yesterday Credit: ITN

His family has always mantained he was murdered- while the authorities insist he took his own life. Yesterday his mother Fatima collapsed in court as she gave evidence. The inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice is set to last three weeks.

Ambulance contingency plans 'worked well'

The director of operations for London Ambulance Service has said their plans to deal with today's industrial action by the capital's ambulance crews worked well.

Less than a quarter of crews turned up to work during the strike between 7am and 11am.

“Our plans worked well and we would like to thank all our staff who came to work and those who responded to patients in a critical situation from the picket line. We would also like to thank the police, the military and health professionals from other parts of the NHS who supported us.

Our plans meant we were able to respond to all emergency calls and reach our most seriously ill and injured patients as quickly as possible. Clinical managers worked on the front line, we used more private ambulance crews and also had support from the police, military and the NHS.

This is a national dispute over pay and is not specifically related to any issues in London.

We recognise the right of our staff to take part in national industrial action over pay and we worked with the unions so that we could provide an emergency service for patients.

– Jason Killens, London Ambulance Service

Mr Killens said he wanted to thank Londoners for their understanding during the dispute and re-iterated that people call NHS111 and only call 999 for an ambulance in a genuine emergency. He said ongoing industrial action - action short of a strike - during the rest of this week would mean a reduction in the number of ambulance crews available to do overtime.

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London Ambulance Service 'returning to normal'

Bosses at London Ambulance Service have said operations are returning to normal after some staff took strike action today between 7am and 11am.

LAS said that, during the industrial action paramedics, doctors and nurses worked on ambulances, and also from the emergency control room where they carried out enhanced clinical assessments of patients.

Eighty six per cent of control room staff worked during the strike action and 23 per cent of ambulance crews.

People in life-threatening situations received an emergency ambulance response but others were provided with alternative treatments or were asked to make their own way to hospital.

Mother gives evidence at Abbas Khan inquest

Fatima Khan, mother of Dr Abbas Khan, at a service in honour of him in 2013 Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

The mother of a south London doctor found dead in a cell in Syria in 2013 has been giving evidence at his inquest.

Fatima Khan told the jury that in July last year she went to Syria to rescue her son and visited a number of embassies, ministries and prisons to try to find out where he was. Some of the buildings she went to were shaken by bomb blasts and vans she travelled in came under sniper fire.

She said: "I felt scared, but my son was here so I had to be brave."

She would kiss the shoes of the officials she met and beg them to help her. At the end of that month, she saw her son at the Court of Terrorism.

She told the hearing: "I hugged him. He was a skeleton. He was in tears. I said, 'Look, mummy is here for you'. He said, 'Sorry, I shouldn't have come here, please take me home'. "His hands were cold as if he was fasting. They were full of black marks and one nail was missing as if someone had taken it off. His feet were completely burnt. "I said, 'What's all this?'. He said, 'This is nothing, I have suffered more than this'."

She said she threw herself at the judge's feet and begged for mercy but he said there were allegations against her son, who was taken away in chains and then transferred to a civilian prison.

Mrs Khan said that when she visited him there at the end of August, he said the conditions were much better.

He said the previous prison was "like Hell" with seven prisoners sharing an eight feet square cell 24 hours a day.

He said he was beaten up by other inmates and interrogated by five men who beat him with rubber hoses, leaving him with open wounds which became infected.

Jury to consider whether doctor was "unlawfully killed"

Dr Abbas Khan who died in custody in Damascus Credit: Khan family photo

The coroner at in inquest into the death of a doctor from south London said Dr Abbas Khan, aged 32, was found "allegedly hanged" while in custody in Damascus on 16th December 2013.

He told the jury they would hear evidence that he was a "family man", and also a "respected" medical man.

He added: "It is clear that he wanted to use his medical skills to help others, and that included helping others in conflict-torn Syria."

The coroner said "things went wrong" on 22nd November 2012. Dr Khan, who was working in a hospital, went out for a walk when he was detained and "was never a free man again".

Just over a year later Dr Khan was found dead, he said.

"During that period of a year while in custody his family made superhuman efforts to try to get him released. In particular, his mother Fatima was extraordinarily persistent."

The coroner said the main issues for the jury to consider after hearing all the evidence were likely to be - did Dr Khan take his own life, or was he "forced in some way by his captors to take his own life against his will", or was he "unlawfully killed" by his captors.

Ambulance asks Londoners to use service 'wisely'

The London Ambulance Service is asking people in the capital to use the service "wisely", following the end of a four-hour strike by NHS workers.

The strike ended at 11am, but the service said it would "continue to be busy" following the industrial action.

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