1 March 2017

Thefts and Losses of Drugs from London Ambulance Service Emergency Response Vehicles and Crews


Drugs have been lost by or stolen from London Ambulance Service emergency crews on at least 20 occasions in the last year, according to information obtained by FOI By Proxy.

Since 1st January 2016 there have been eight occasions when crews have suffered loss or theft of the most dangerous and addictive drugs in their custody. The use of these so-called controlled drugs is very tightly regulated.

London Ambulance Service has confirmed that morphine, which is an opiate analgesic similar to heroin, was reported missing from crews attending three separate incidents.

Other controlled drugs went missing from crews attending five incidents.

And on twelve occasions non-controlled drugs were unaccounted for at the end of an emergency job.

In several cases entire drug packs and oxygen cylinders went missing from crews attending emergency calls across the capital. A list of the contents of these drug packs can be found in the supporting material at the foot of the post.

Information provided by London Ambulance Service reveals that crews based in Greenwich were particularly unfortunate, having reported three instances of loss or theft within the space of only 6 weeks. Those working in Camden came a close second, with two instances of loss or theft reported within the space of a month.

The full text of our request appears below:

Public Authority:
London Ambulance Service

Their Reference Number:
2460

Request by FOI By Proxy (sent 22nd January 2017):
Dear London Ambulance Service,

I am making this request in accordance with the terms of section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please provide the following information held by the London Ambulance Service since 1st January 2016:
1. A list of drugs reported lost or stolen from an emergency response vehicle (e.g. emergency ambulance or paramedic response unit) or member of crew. Please provide the date and location of each theft or loss and the name and quantity of drugs lost or stolen. Please indicate if any of those drugs lost or stolen are controlled within the meaning of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Non-controlled drugs were lost by or stolen from crews on at least twelve other occasions.

In accordance with section 11 of the Act, please provide your response in electronic format to the return email address associated with this request.

Many thanks for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

[Name]
On behalf of FOI By Proxy

Response by London Ambulance Service (received 22nd February 2017):
London Ambulance Service provided full response to our request, but we have since sought clarification about the exact contents of the Technician and Paramedic Drug Packs.

You can view London Ambulance Service's disclosure documents at the links below.

Supporting Material:
You can view London Ambulance Service's letter of response here and disclosure document here.
We have also found a list of the drugs used by London Ambulance Service, which you can view here.

Edit: London Ambulance Service has now provided us with a list of drugs contained within the Paramedic and Technician Drug Packs, which you can view here.

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