The London Ambulance Service faced a new crisis today when the first TripAdvisor-style NHS staff survey found a third of its employees would not recommend its care to their friends and family.
The service, which has been hit by dire staff shortages and a massive increase in 999 calls, was the worst performer of all NHS trusts in the capital in terms of staff satisfaction.
A total of 33 per cent said they would not recommend its care to their friends and family. Only 46 per cent said they would – also the lowest positive rating out of 39 hospital, mental health and community NHS organisations in London.
Of the 384 responses, only 15 per cent of ambulance staff would recommend it as a place to work, while 71 per cent said they would not recommend it to family and friends – again the worst scores of any London NHS organisation.
Last week London Ambulance Service announced that thousands of Londoners who dialled 999 would no longer receive an emergency ambulance after soaring demand and staff shortages forced health chiefs to prioritise the sickest patients.
Its control centre has been deluged with almost 15,000 extra calls a month, up 11 per cent year-on-year – while having 450 fewer front-line staff due to a recruitment and retention crisis.
Efforts are being made to recruit about 250 paramedics from Australia and New Zealand. The service should have 3,000 front-line staff but is short of 320 paramedics and 130 emergency medical technicians.
A London Ambulance spokeswoman said: “We know our ambulance crews and control room staff provide outstanding patient care daily and the hundreds of letters of thanks and praise we get from patients confirms this.
“These are the views of eight per cent of our workforce, however, we are working hard to improve our response time to Londoners but with increasing demand some patients with minor injuries may wait longer for an ambulance response.”
Today’s results were based on an expansion of the friends and family test to include staff responses. Previously it was only patients who were able to vote.
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, in Stanmore, was voted the best place to receive care, backed by 98 per cent of staff.
The best places to work were the Royal Brompton and Harefield and Royal Free trusts, each scoring 87 per cent support from their employees.