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By Darren Dalcher


case study reviews the system and the processes that led to the botched implementation. The London Ambulance Service have spent the best part of the last fourteen years attempting to computerise their despatch system. (They are still trying). The infamous failure of the second attempt was selected due to the multitude of issues and considerations it raises. The prevailing culture and the financial climate played a major role in shaping the events that led to disaster. This case study highlights how circumstances can gang-up and the resulting implications to the health and safety of patients. The automation of the despatch of ambulances in London, which was implemented on the 26 October 1992, was subject to very severe problems on the 26 and 27 October, and to total failure on 4 November 1992. In the early hours of the 4 November the system started slowing down and eventually locked up altogether. Attempts to switch off and restart failed. In the absence of a back-up system, the operators were forced to resort to a hastily coordinated manual procedure. LAS Background The London Ambulance service was founded in 1930 as a direct replacement to the service run by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. In 1965 the LAS was enlarged, as part of the establishment of the Greater London Council, to incorporate parts of eight other emergency services in the London area. In 1974, LAS became a quasi-independent body with its own board, managed by the South Thames Regional health Authority under the control of the National Health Service. The London Ambulance Service covers a geographical area of just over 600 square miles with a resident population of about 6.8 million people. The day-time population is boosted by millions of commuters and visitors swelling to around 10 million people in the summer months

Year: 2009
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