Hundreds of people have collapsed in queue to see the late Queen’s coffin

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Over 400 mourners have fallen ill in the line, with some suffering head injuries

Hundreds of people have collapsed in queue to see the late Queen’s coffin
People queue in front of Tower Bridge to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II
People queue in front of Tower Bridge to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II CREDIT: Markus Schreiber /AP

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Ambulances have attended to hundreds of people fainting and collapsing in queues for the late Queen, the NHS has said.

The ambulance service said it and partner agencies had cared for 435 patients who fell ill along the lying-in-state queuing route and surrounding areas by the end of Thursday.

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has drawn up plans to deploy an extra 300 staff on the day of the state funeral, with pressures expected to mount.

The public has been urged to “use the service wisely” – reserving 999 for serious emergencies, as crowds rise over the weekend.

The lying-in-state opened at 5pm on Wednesday, when 291 patients required help from paramedics, of whom 17 were taken to hospital, the LAS said. 

On Thursday, a further 144 people fell ill, of whom 25 went to hospital, the trust confirmed. The ambulance services said the majority of the incidents attended were faints and collapses, some of which resulted in head injuries.

Medics urged those planning to join queues that could stretch for hours to bring appropriate clothing, especially for cold night.

Mourners file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
Mourners file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II CREDIT: YUI MOK /POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It followed scenes of chaos on Friday, as the Government announced that the queue would be closed, seemingly without informing attendants, so that thousands of people joined regardless.

Darren Farmer, LAS director for ambulance operations, said: “It’s important that people joining the queue follow the advice provided on the government website, including bringing with them any regular medication, appropriate clothing, drink plenty of water and eat regularly.

“If it’s cold, its important people wear appropriate clothing to keep them warm. There will be fixed first aid treatment centres provided by St John Ambulance along the route, supported by cycle and motorcycle responders, medical response teams and ambulances from the London Ambulance Service.”

He urged Londoners who fell ill this weekend to “use our service wisely” and contact GPs, pharmacists or NHS 111 where possible. Mr Farmer said staff were working “incredibly hard” to deal with the pressures.

“Our teams are always here to help if you need us, but we would ask that people follow advice, use our service wisely and contact your GP, pharmacy or NHS 111 where possible. Londoners can continue to help us by only calling 999 in a serious medical emergency,” he said.

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The ambulance chief said paramedics, 999 call handlers other staff and volunteers felt “pride and honour” serving Her Majesty and caring for those paying respects.

Mr Farmer said: “With the increase of visitors in London, we expect to be particularly busy, but have robust plans in place to ensure we continue to provide the best possible care to people across the capital.

“We are working very closely with the Royal Household, Metropolitan Police, Cabinet Office, St John Ambulance, TfL and other ambulance services and, whilst very different, we have significant experience of supporting large scale events, including the 2012 Olympics, Notting Hill Carnival and Pride.

“Over the next few days, we will have about 120 extra staff deployed across our 999 control rooms and on the road, which will rise to 300 extra staff on duty on the day of the funeral (Monday). This will include teams on foot in crowded areas and in our 999 control rooms, to manage the anticipated increase in demand and ensure we reach the most seriously ill and injured patients as quickly as possible.”

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