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Investigation under way after industrial site fire

Smoke rises above a warehouse on the industrial site Credit: @LAS_HART/Twitter

Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters and officers were called to a blaze at an industrial estate on Orwell Close in Rainham just after 9pm yesterday.

The fire badly damaged a range of single-storey industrial buildings, including units used for glass manufacturing. No one was injured.

Emergency vehicles on the site of the fire Credit: @LAS_HART/Twitter

A cordon was put in place because a number of gas cylinders were involved in the fire. Crews cooled them down as some cylinders can explode when exposed to heat.

Fire engines from Romford, Hornchurch, Dagenham, Ilford, Barking, East Ham, Wennington and Harold Hill fire stations were at the scene.

The fire was under control by 3.11am today. The cause is being investigated.

Fire crews on site in Rainham Credit: @LondonFire/Twitter


New Year's emergency calls drop by almost a third

London Ambulance Service saw a 30% drop in calls across the capital compared to last year and 40% less incidents in the central London event area.

Credit: LAS

At peak times, they were answering around 450 calls an hour, compared to over 600 last year.

It has been an incredibly busy night for us, as we normally only receive around 250 calls an hour.

– Kevin Brown, London Ambulance Service

Most of the patients treated had alcohol-related illnesses or injuries

Ambulances wait more than 500 hours waiting outside hospitals in a week

London Ambulances spent more than 500 hours waiting outside hospitals last week. Official figures show more than 1,000 ambulances had to wait more than 30 minutes before patients were taken inside to be treated.

Credit: PA

Barbara Hakin, the national director of commissioning operations for NHS England urged patients to help ease the pressure on hospitals by going to their GPs, pharmacists and using the non-emergency 111 helpline, if their condition is not genuinely urgent.

Don't go to A&E, don't call an ambulance, unless that's what you really need.

We've seen record numbers of patients waiting longer for treatment in emergency departments. We've seen emergency admissions at the highest they've been since records began. But to me, the most important thing is really that the entire system is being run at a crisis basis simply in order to keep up with our existing work. That means, of course, that our resilience to a further crisis - a winter crisis, or anything else laid on top of it - is reduced because everybody is at the present time working the system flat-out to serve patients.

– Barbara Hakin, NHS England

London Ambulance staff on strike

Around three quarters of staff at the London Ambulance Service are expected to go on strike today between 7am and 11am.

The action is part of an an ongoing row over pay. Four weeks ago 77% of staff joined the picket line in protest at not receiving a recommended 1% pay rise.

Credit: PA

LAS says contingency plans are in place to provide a service for London during strike action. The plans include support from the police and military personnel. Ambulances will only be sent to cases that most seriously need paramedic assistance.

If a major incident in London happens during strike action, staff have agreed to return to work.


Attacks on London ambulance workers rising

Up to four ambulance workers are attacked each day in London, with physical assaults on paramedics and responders up 23% last year, according to Freedom of Information figures revealed in a new report.

'Paramedics in Peril' was authored by Roger Evans, a Conservative for the Greater London Authority.

Campaigners are calling for cameras to be worn by paramedics Credit: PA

The report calls for 100 trial cameras to be worn by London Ambulance crews and 100 on-vehicle devices. it comes after over 4,000 violent incidents were recorded between 2010 and 2013.

The trial would cost around £106,000,but campaigners argue that is less than the annual sick bill caused by injury.

Body cameras are currently being trialed by police forces across the UK, with Staffordshire Police have issued 550 of the devices to all operational officers including armed response teams as part of a programme to boost transparent policing.

Sharp increase in life-threatening calls over winter

  • We expect the number of life-threatening calls over the winter period to go up from around 1,200 a day to 1,800 - these patients will be our priority
  • Where clinically safe we will not be sending an ambulance to our lowest priority patients
  • We will however continue to respond to all calls to patients under two years old and over 70
  • This is something we already do at times of peak demand, for example, New Year's Eve when we need to prioritise our service for patients with life-threatening conditions

Winter demand means no ambulances for patients with minor conditions

Patients who dial 999 with minor conditions during the winter months will not be sent an ambulance. The London Ambulance Service says lowest priority patients will be referred to other health providers, such as 111, their GP or local pharmacist.

Minor conditions include cut fingers, colds and toothache Credit: Press Association

Camden cyclist's injuries not life-threatening

London Ambulance Service said:

"We were called today just after 4pm to reports of a roadtraffic collision involving a lorry and cyclist at Camden High Street.

"We sent a number of staff including a single responder in a car, a duty officer, two ambulance crews and London Air Ambulance's medical team in a car to the scene.

Our staff treated one patient, an adult man for a minor head injury. He has been taken to St Mary’s Hospital by ambulance.”

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