23 February 2023

Brixton Academy crush: Claims of only half of recommended medical staff on duty

Two people died on December 15th during a concert by Asake.

On the night of the ‘crush’ at the O2 Academy Brixton occurred, only half the recommended number of medical staff were reportedly on duty on the night of a crush at the South West London venue.

Rebecca Ikumelo and security guard Gaby Hutchinson died in hospital following the crowd surge on December 15th at the concert by Afrobeats artist Asake.

Industry guidelines suggest there should have been medical cover of at least 10 people, including a paramedic and a nurse. However, whistleblowers told the BBC that “only five people were working” when the crush happened in December.

For a sold-out, 5,000-strong audience gig at Brixton – such as the Asake show – industry-standard guidance suggests there should have been at least 10 people with medical training on duty. The medical provider, Collingwood Services Ltd, told the BBC it was “fully confident” its team had “responded speedily, efficiently and with best practice.”

The company said two of those providing medical cover had been first responders alongside two third-year student paramedics – working as lower-grade emergency medical technicians (EMTs) – and a fifth EMT.

“[They] had two student paramedics, so they’re basically unqualified,” said one whistleblower. “They have to be supervised by a paramedic, not by anybody of a lower grade. They didn’t have appropriate supervision.”

The news comes as last month there was a decision to suspend the venue’s licence for three months, made by Lambeth Council’s licensing sub-committee.

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit O2 Academy

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