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Ambulance access - how long before there's a real tragedy?

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Tuesday 2 March 2004 10.05am
Perhaps once SH has sorted out the post, he'll have a look at another little issue. Living just off Falmouth Road, all the concrete blocks that keep the traffic on Great Dover St and into the congestion charges have to date been an irritation rather than anything else - used to wonder how "they" had the right to block our access, seemingly without time limit or any intention of doing permanent works.
Unfortunately, last weekend, we had to call an ambulance for my sister. Even more unfortunately, because of all the lovely concrete blocks - which, because they are not permanent, are not marked on any maps - it took the ambo's 45 mins to get to our flat.

Nothing against the ambulance staff - they were incredibly frustrated & commented on the dangers of it - just makes you wonder if 5 a few times over is worth the risk of emergency services not getting through? Fortunately, Kate is fine - but it could have been a very different story!

Tuesday 2 March 2004 10.43am
Suggest you write to him and see what if anything he can do.
Tuesday 2 March 2004 11.42am
This is awful Claire, and must have been terrible for you and your sister, but is the problem anything to do with the blocks in the road, or whether they are temporary or permanent, and what has it to do with "5 a few times over"?

It sounds like the problem is that whoever is blocking off the roads isn't talking to the emergency services. However, there are so many roadworks that surely there must be some controls in place to make sure the emergency services are told when road access changes.

Does anyone know how this is supposed to work?

...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.18pm
Lent indeed! Pity I've got no vices...therefore nothing to give up - heh heh. The 5 was a sarky reference to the congestion charge - it appears the only reason all the roads in the area are blocked is to force people up on to Bo' High Street, where the cameras start.
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.21pm
The government is thinking of appointing local traffic officers who presumably would help in this sort of situation: see Hansard for details.

This BBC report is quite interesting, too.

Post edited (02 Mar 04 12:29)
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.45pm
oh goody - does the appointment of 'local traffic officers ' to guide us around the barriers mean yet another rung on the public sector job creation ladder, or are these existing roles that will be given wider responsibility?
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.46pm
I thought these flipping barriers were supposed to be temporary?
still dont really know how they can legally block off the Queens highway..moan moan.....
I hope your sister is okay? it must have been very frightening for her

and the porcine element takes to the sky...
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.48pm
The congestion charge starts at The Bricklayers roundabout so if you're driving up Great Dover Street or anywhere N/NW of the New Kent Road or Tower Bridge Road, you're in it already.

I thought the blocks were there to prevent 'rat-running' down Falmouth Road, Trinity Street (although there's separate barriers at Trinity Church Sq), Globe Street & Swan Street by drivers trying to avoid the Borough High Street Junction.

I take your point that it's a hazard for the emergency services and potentially lethal if they're not even aware of the restrictions!
Tuesday 2 March 2004 12.51pm
My understanding was that the blocks were nothing to do with the congestion charge but started to stop cars going down Trinity street ( due to the residents campaigning to stop it being used as a rat run) and then as it meant all the traffic was using Falmouth Road as a rat run they blocked the top of Trinity Street off to all traffic.

It does stop access, it is dangerous and all it does is force the traffic problem on to other roads which then suffer as a result.

Tuesday 2 March 2004 1.17pm
The barriers are there to stop traffic taking short cuts through Falmouth Rd and not to do with the C-Charge, as has been pointed out above. The rights and wrongs of that are another issue (and have been hotly debated on here before - but for my money the barriers do a lot to stop ambulances being required in the area on a much more frequent basis. If we took down the blocks at the top of Trinity St, I would expect to see ambulances in attendance down Falmouth Rd quite regularly to deal with what I think would be an increase in accidents involving cars using it as a short cut).

Let's not confuse this with the separate issue of what mechanisms are in place to keep emergency services up to date with changes to road access. IMO, that's the important thing. Tinkering with the C-Charge, or with road access on particular streets, is a red herring and will not help anyone else to get an ambulance quicker.

...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
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