New cycle-friendly road blocks stop paramedics reaching patient

Paramedics had to wait up to 20 minutes to get to a patient who had collapsed in an alleyway because their ambulance was blocked by bollards installed as part of a new traffic scheme.

Emergency services were called to Ealing in West London after the man was found unconscious by residents, but medics were impeded by a new one-way system that stopped traffic entering the road from one end.

The London Ambulance Service had not been given keys to the new barriers when they were called to the incident on Saturday afternoon, three days after the new bollards and flower beds were put up by Ealing Council. 

The bollards stop cars entering Leighton Road, where the patient was found, from Northfield Avenue and are part of a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme introduced to re-route motorists away from certain areas.

Witnesses said the paramedics were angry they could not get their emergency vehicle close to the man who needed medical attention. The ill man was treated at the scene and refused to be taken to hospital.

Ealing is among the councils installing LTNs, launched by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in May, with one of the aims to create safer streets for people to walk and cycle on by stopping motorists taking shortcuts on 'rat-runs'. 

Paramedics were impeded on Saturday by a new one-way system in Ealing, West London, which stopped traffic entering the road from one end - after they were called to the scene when a man was found unconscious by residents

Paramedics were impeded on Saturday by a new one-way system in Ealing, West London, which stopped traffic entering the road from one end - after they were called to the scene when a man was found unconscious by residents

The London Ambulance Service had not been given keys to the new barriers when they were called to the incident on Saturday afternoon, three days after the new bollards and flower beds were put up by Ealing Council

The London Ambulance Service had not been given keys to the new barriers when they were called to the incident on Saturday afternoon, three days after the new bollards and flower beds were put up by Ealing Council

Refuse lorries are unable to pass through the barriers in Ealing, with a councillor saying this means it is 'taking them much longer to complete their rounds, as there are sections of the scheme that their lorry cannot reach'

Refuse lorries are unable to pass through the barriers in Ealing, with a councillor saying this means it is 'taking them much longer to complete their rounds, as there are sections of the scheme that their lorry cannot reach'

The bollards stop cars entering Leighton Road, where the patient was found, from Northfield Avenue (as shown in the black box) and are part of a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme introduced to re-route motorists away from certain areas

The bollards stop cars entering Leighton Road, where the patient was found, from Northfield Avenue (as shown in the black box) and are part of a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme introduced to re-route motorists away from certain areas

Dominic Small, 53, who lives near the alleyway where the man was found, said it took the medics around 15 to 20 minutes to park, then walk around 40 yards with their equipment to attend to the sick man.

He said: 'The man had collapsed in the alleyway near my house and when the paramedics arrived he said he had to wait around 15 to 20 minutes trying to get access because he hadn't got keys and didn't have any information about the changing road system.

'He [the paramedic] was really quite cross about the whole situation. In the end he had to park across on the other side of the barriers and walk to the patients around 30 to 40 meters and treat him that way.

'If they had to get to him for something more serious, it could have been the difference between life and death. They had to go quite a distance and then if they had to trolley someone that far back to the ambulance it would cause a crucial delay.

'The paramedics said it was a risk to health and safety and we should complain to the council as they can't complain.

'I asked the council why they haven't removed the barriers given that they now know the ambulance services don't have keys, but have not got a response yet.'

This graphic shows how cycling (in grey) across Britain rose during lockdown as usage of other forms of transport such as rail and driving fell dramatically. However, cycling has since fallen off slightly in recent weeks, as a percentage of normal levels

This graphic shows how cycling (in grey) across Britain rose during lockdown as usage of other forms of transport such as rail and driving fell dramatically. However, cycling has since fallen off slightly in recent weeks, as a percentage of normal levels

TomTom data showed congestion in the capital was at 47 per cent by 8am today – a rise from 41 per cent at the same time yesterday and up from 26 per cent last week, although still well below the 2019 average of 65 per cent

TomTom data showed congestion in the capital was at 47 per cent by 8am today – a rise from 41 per cent at the same time yesterday and up from 26 per cent last week, although still well below the 2019 average of 65 per cent

A Google Traffic map at 8.30am today shows busy roads in Central London (red), but many in the suburbs are clear (green)

A Google Traffic map at 8.30am today shows busy roads in Central London (red), but many in the suburbs are clear (green) 

Councillor David Millican said that on Tuesday evening an elderly resident who lives inside the Northfields traffic scheme also fell ill and the ambulance took an extra half an hour get to their home due to the new diversion.

Flexible season tickets plan for commuters 

Rail companies are set to offer flexible season tickets to encourage more workers to get back to offices, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister told MPs the Government was working with rail firms to provide tickets for those who will not be in the office five days a week.

Many offices will not be able to accommodate all their workers at the same time because of social distancing.

One idea mooted for flexible season tickets is that they could be bought to cover three days instead of a full week.

At Prime Minister's Questions Tory MP Damian Green urged Mr Johnson 'to encourage the rail industry to introduce flexible season tickets immediately' to help office staff return.

The Prime Minister replied that the Government was working with firms on tickets that would 'enable people to get back to work in a flexible way'.

 

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He said: 'An elderly gentleman who lives within the Northfields traffic scheme, and whose partner had taken a fall on Tuesday evening, told me that it took the ambulance crew over 30 minutes to find its way to their home through the maze of road blocks.

'His partner stayed in hospital overnight and is fine, but was worried if it had been a matter of life and death.

'I've been warning senior councillors and council officers for many weeks that the emergency services would struggle to navigate and pass through the road blocks.

'This constituent was very concerned at the slow response from the ambulance service and what would have happened if it had been a matter of life and death.

'The refuse lorries are unable to pass through the barriers, meaning it is taking them much longer to complete their rounds, as there are sections of the scheme that their lorry cannot reach.

'If refuse lorries cannot pass through the barriers then clearly fire engines cannot either, despite the assurances we have received.'

Resident Christina Fox also said the new barriers were dangerous and someone could 'die waiting' for an ambulance.

She said: 'While I broadly support the LTN, I am very concerned that should a family member need an ambulance, they could die waiting. 

'While the gap between the raised beds is big enough for the fire brigade and ambulance vehicles. That is of no consequence if the ambulance staff do not have a key.'

London Ambulance Service claimed they reached the first patient within their target of 18 minutes for a category two emergency call.

Category two calls are those that are classed as an emergency for a potentially serious condition that may require rapid assessment, urgent on-scene treatment or to be urgently taken to hospital.

Cars, vans and buses queue along Upper Street in Islington, North London, next to an empty cycle lane at 5pm yesterday

Cars, vans and buses queue along Upper Street in Islington, North London, next to an empty cycle lane at 5pm yesterday

A lone cyclist travels along a bike lane on Park Lane in London's exclusive Mayfair district at 2.30pm yesterday

A lone cyclist travels along a bike lane on Park Lane in London's exclusive Mayfair district at 2.30pm yesterday

Empty new bike lanes cause long queues of cars and vans along Balham High Road in South London at 10.30am today

Empty new bike lanes cause

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