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Coca-Cola may get priority over sick people during 2012 London Olympics

Health professionals fear that ambulances will be stuck in traffic during the Olympic games.

London olympics securityEnlarge
An arial view of the London 2012 Olympic Park under construction in Stratford, part of London's east end. The security forces for the event have increased to include 13,500 troops. (Richard Heathcote/AFP/Getty Images)

London officials expect streets to be jammed with traffic during the 2012 Olympic Games, so they plan to reserve some traffic lanes for Olympic VIPs. But there's bad news for people with medical emergencies: some ambulances will not be allowed in the special VIP lanes, the Guardian reported.

"This means that sick people, often elderly and frail, urgent blood supplies, oxygen, will all be made to wait in traffic with the rest of us," a Medical Services employee told the Guardian

In preparation for the Games, Transport for London and the London Olympic Organizing Committee will reserve 30 miles of special "Games lanes" in central London for top-priority Olympic guests.  Ambulances can only use these lanes if they have their blue lights on. But there are many urgent ambulance trips where blue lights cannot be used, the Guardian said. "They can only be employed in a genuine emergency and those entitled to use them generally require special training."

It's not just athletes that get access to the Games lanes. Companies that sponsor the Games, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, will also be allowed in. 

In total, some 25,000 marketing partners "whose funding and support is essential to the running of the Games" will be allowed on the Olympic Route Network, according to a 2010 press release

"If you’re going to die, you’d better do it before the Games," a funeral director told a London newspaper, according to The Washington Times

The Imperial College healthcare trust submitted an appeal to London authorities, asking that all emergency vehicles be allowed full access to the Olympic Route Network, the Guardian reported. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120218/london-olympics-may-force-ambulances-to-wait