PERFORMANCE: London Ambulance Service Trust has raised concern about the age of its fleet of vehicles and employees, in its latest risk register.
According to the register, the possibility of vehicle breakdown affecting the service’s performance was a concern.
It said: “The current age profile of the [London ambulance Service] vehicle fleet will result in increased downtime impacting on operational performance and implementation of the modernisation process.”
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The register also noted that ambulance and fast response units may not be roadworthy as they have not been serviced every 16 weeks, which is the average time it takes for brake pads to wear down.
The trust was also concerned that workshop managers and technicians may be approaching retirement age.
The register noted this could “impact on the future resilience of the fleet operation”.
However, David Prince, director of support services at the trust, said action was already being taken to combat concerns.
This included an ongoing recruitment drive and an annual roll out of a new fleet of vehicles over the next four years.
London Ambulance is also experiencing a high rate of staff turnover, which chief executive Ann Radmore said was in line with national paramedic trends.
In the minutes of the trust’s latest board papers, Ms Radmore said she expected its high rate of staff turnover to continue.
She added that she did not expect to see an improvement in staff recruitment until the beginning of 2015.
Mr Prince added: “We are investing over £10m on new vehicles as part of a rolling programme and will be taking delivery of 104 new ambulances and fast response cars this year and every year for four years.
“Ambulances in London travel in heavy traffic, over speed bumps, stopping and starting and sometimes travel at speed. As you’d expect they face wear and tear but we are prepared for this and have a plan for routine maintenance.
“We have 53 workshop technicians and four are reaching retirement age this year. However, we do not force our staff to retire and we are currently developing an apprentice scheme to attract younger people to this role.”