Claims of not enough medical staff at O2 Academy Brixton crush

Featured image credit: Dr Neil Clifton/ CC BY-SA 2.0/ Edited for size

Only half the recommended number of medical staff were on duty on the night of the crowd crush at the O2 Academy Brixton, according to a report from the BBC.

Two people died as a result of a crowd crush at a gig from Afrobeats artist Asake in December.

According to the report from the BBC, there should have been at least 10 medical professionals at the event, including a paramedic and a nurse, as there were 5,000 ticket-holders present.

Two insiders approached the BBC to say that only five medical personnel were working on the night of the crush, which was confirmed by the medical cover provider. No fully-trained paramedics or nurses were present at the event.

The medical provider was Collingwood Services, which said that it was confident its team had responded “speedily, efficiently and within best practice”.

Two whistleblowers, who work regularly for Collingwood Services at Brixton, told BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme that the medical cover at the gig had been “inadequate”. Neither of these whistleblowers were working on the night of the crush but one had spoken to colleagues who were present.

One whistleblower told the programme: “They had two student paramedics, so they’re basically unqualified. They have to be supervised by a paramedic, not by anybody of a lower grade. They didn’t have appropriate supervision.”

The insiders also said the other three people on duty that night were ‘FREC 3s’, which is people with a Level 3 certificate in First Response Emergency Care. Collingwood Services said that there were indeed five medical staff in attendance on December 15, two of which were emergency responders. There were also two third-year student paramedics who were working as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and a fifth EMT.

Collingwood Services told the BBC that “all staff present were qualified to carry out the scope of practice they were contracted to perform,” and confirmed that “no member of staff was contracted to provide paramedic level duties at the event”.

Academy Music Group, which operates the Brixton venue, did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment due to the ongoing police investigation.

The venue had its licence suspended following the crush and will remain closed for the duration of the investigation by Metropolitan Police.