London ambulance service rating downgraded over lack of 999 call handlers

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LONDON, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) — London Ambulance Service (LAS) was warned Friday that it failed to answer 999 calls quickly enough due to a lack of call handlers, but praised for its response to terror attacks, according to a report here.

Released by the Care Quality Commission, a watchdog of the National Health Service (NHS), the report said the overall quality of LAS services remained “good”, but “requires improvement” for safety.

The report mainly blamed the LAS for a shortage of call handlers on duty.

Although about half of calls were answered right away, the most recent figures showed that people calling 999 waited for an average of 27 seconds to get through, said the report.

The report also highlighted problems in northeast and southeast London, where the LAS failed to meet the target to answer 95 percent of calls within a minute.

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