The London Ambulance Service has requested help from other ambulance services in England as it struggles to cope with increased demand on its services this winter.
During the week of 8 December 2014, Londoners made 11,008 call outs for Category A incidents. These are the incidents which involve the most seriously ill and injured. Three hundred calls an hour were received during this period. According to the BBC, this makes last week the London Ambulance Service's "busiest ever" with demand increased by 15% on the same period last year.
In a BBC article, the chairman of the Patients' Forum, Malcolm Alexander, said the London Ambulance Service was missing its response target for Category A calls and also had staffing problems. There are currently vacancies for more than 400 personnel. Mr Alexander described the situation as an "appalling crisis."
The situation is so worrying that London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, has written to the health secretary about the lack of trained paramedics coming through the system.
Director of Operations at the London Ambulance Service, Jason Killens, confirmed that ambulance services in other parts of England had been contacted to request mutual aid but said that this was part of "forward planning" and, at this stage, nothing had been confirmed.
The BBC reported that, according to a senior NHS source, the Department of Health was able to implement emergency powers to require other regions in England to assist if necessary.