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Lansley: Olympics emergency cover will not 'drain' NHS resources

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has promised NHS workers emergency cover for the London 2012 Olympic Games will not “drain” NHS resources.

Visiting the Olympics ambulance emergency control centre in East London, Lansley told the East London Advertiser the provision for ambulance cover will come out of 'extra' DH funding, which is part of the overall Olympics budget.

“No resources are being taken from NHS day-to-day running costs,” he said.

The new site in Bromley-by-Bow will dispatch a new fleet of 66 ambulances from 36 computerised desks to calls made at any of the Olympic venues.

Lansley confirmed air-ambulance services at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel will only be used in “exceptional circumstances” and will not affect its day-to-day emergency cover across the capital, The Advertiser reported.

“The quickest response will be the ground ambulances inside the park,” said Lansley.

“They will be geared to get emergencies to Homerton Hospital just a few minutes away, which will be quicker than landing a helicopter and airlifting patients.

“We've taken extreme scenarios into our planning to ensure we have resources that people in east London expect, so that normal emergency and NHS services aren't diminished by the Games.”

More than 200 operators are thought to be responsible for manning the new ambulance control centre on round-the-clock shifts.