The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has been told by City Hall to improve the ethnic diversity of its workforce.
The request was just one of several recommendations made by the London Assembly’s health committee, in a letter sent to LAS chief executive Daniel Elkeles.
Only one in five LAS employees (20 per cent) come from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, despite almost one in two (46.2 per cent) people in London having a non-white background.
Mr Elkeles said the organisation is committed “to making sure our workforce is much more representative of the people of London”.
In their letter to the chief executive, the committee pointed out that the 20 per cent of minority ethnic staff were disproportionately found in the organisation’s lowest-paid roles. In the lowest four employment bands, minority representation was at 40.9 per cent, compared to 15.9 per cent in the highest bands.
Committee chair Krupesh Hirani said: “London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and our blue light services should reflect the cultures and communities they serve.
“It is encouraging that the LAS’s new strategy includes a commitment to improving diversity in the organisation, as with only one in five of its current workforce from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, it is not truly ethnically representative of London.
Mr Hirani, a Labour member who represents Brent and Harrow on the Assembly, added: “We believe that a detailed action plan with specific targets on how it will improve diversity among frontline paramedics and the organisation as a whole would be an important step to better represent the diversity of our city.”
The committee also said that the LAS should give patients a bigger say in how services are delivered, and for targets to be set relating to public awareness and education initiatives - covering issues such as when to call 999, and what actions can prevent emergency care being required in the first place.
Commenting in response, Mr Elkeles said: “As we outlined to Greater London Authority members in a recent meeting, we recognise the big challenges ahead in providing even better emergency and urgent care for Londoners and ensuring our workforce reflects the communities we serve.
“We are in the process of developing a new long term strategy, which we want to be ambitious in laying out our vision as a leading employer in London, contributing to a healthier city and tackling health inequities. As part of this, we are committing to making sure our workforce is much more representative of the people of London.
“I welcome the input from the London Assembly and we will ensure our strategy – which we hope to publish later this year – will address their specific points.”