Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: Region’s ambulance service faces questions over deaths of 19 patients so far this year

10:25 28 May 2014

The female involved in the collision was treated at the scene

The female involved in the collision was treated at the scene

Archant

The region’s ambulance service has come under fire for 19 deaths linked to delays in response times, equipment failure and decisions not to take a patient to hospital.

shares

The embattled East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) has declared 36 serious incidents so far this year, with 20 of those coming in March and April.

Of the 36 incidents, 19 relate to patient deaths following incidents including response delays, ambulance breakdowns, an incorrect address, equipment failure and clinical treatment. Three of the deaths were in Suffolk and seven in Essex.

Another reason was a “non-conveyance decision” where an agreement between clinicians and patients was made for them not to go to hospital, which was made in five cases in March and April.

An EEAST spokesman said in each of the serious cases, the patients were already “very unwell” upon the ambulance’s arrival and died as a result of their illness.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter described the incidents as “unacceptably poor standards of care”.

“As a doctor I know there are very complex reasons sometimes for why things go wrong,” he said. “We have to look at each case individually but clearly there are a number of incidents here resulting in unacceptably poor standards of care for patients.

“Having worked alongside paramedics in Suffolk, I know we have some incredibly dedicated, hard-working, highly-skilled paramedics and I would be surprised if it was a direct error from them that lead to a serious incident.”

The MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich added: “Historically there has been a problem with not enough money being invested in frontline services.

“Even though we have many hard-working paramedics, we simply don’t have enough of them or vehicles on the road to deliver the quality of service that patients in more rural counties like Suffolk deserve.”

Earlier this year EEAST chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh announced a package of new measures including recruiting 400 student paramedics in 2014/15, reducing the reliance on response cars, overhauling the fleet and equipment replacement programme and re-investing back-office funding into frontline delivery.

An EEAST spokesman said: “With each serious incident, we are open with the family to inform them of the process, and then the findings of the investigation.

“In each of the cases reported, the patients were already very unwell upon the arrival of the ambulance and died as a result of their illness.

“The number of serious incidents reported every year is a tiny percentage of the total number of jobs we attend.

“When they do happen, it is important to look into them and always encourage staff to flag any issues they have in order for them to be fully investigated.

“Each serious incident is thoroughly examined and reported externally, and measures put into place to help prevent such incidents happening again.

“We do monitor trends including increases in serious incidents being reported so we can investigate the reasons behind it.”

shares

3 comments

  • @Tamara. The Air ambulance isn't even mentioned in the article! Love the Spokesman's comment; "the patients were already very unwell upon the arrival of the ambulance" Does that mean we should call for an ambulance before we become "unwell" to stand a better chance of surviving? ;-)

    Report this comment

    kevinwj

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • To quote wise 'Dr Dan' - The MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich added: “Historically there has been a problem with not enough money being invested in frontline services. “Even though we have many hard-working paramedics, we simply don’t have enough of them or vehicles on the road to deliver the quality of service that patients in more rural counties like Suffolk deserve.” You're a health ministerCameron 's lickspittle - do something about it!

    Report this comment

    spacktard

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • So the air ambulance takes on the most critical cases where people would likely die without their help and get criticised for not succeeding 100% of the time? If I ran the trust I'd feel like throwing in the towel and telling the whingers that it's now all up to them, and that they'd better come up with the goods because I'd be watching closely. Thank-you air ambulance trust for working where others can't or daren't, and for all the lives you save.

    Report this comment

    Tamara Knight

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The thatched house in Langham which was badly damaged by a fire.

A blaze at a thatched cottage in a village near the Suffolk/Essex border tackled by firefighters for around seven hours overnight has left a family homeless.

Leiston and District Swimming Club relay teams

A swimming club sent 27 members to a county-wide championship – with more finalists than ever before.

Gena Moore from Nelson’s Journey with Simon and Anne Beckett-Allen of Rosedale Funeral Home

A funeral home with branches in north Suffolk has continued its support for local bereaved children by commissioning a doll’s house style church to help support workers explain what happens at a funeral.

Felixstowe Road Runners

Runners from Suffolk and Essex will once again be flocking to the Capital, this weekend, to take part in the 35th staging of the London Marthon.

Man wanted in connection with a burglary at Playford Court in Sudbury

CCTV images of a man wanted over thefts from properties at sheltered housing complexes in Sudbury.

Cyclists taking part in the Suffolk Sunrise 100 bike ride for children's charity Action Medical Research in 2012

More than 1,300 cyclists are expected to line up for the start of a fundraising ride through the Suffolk countryside in just over a fortnight.

MRSA rates revealed

Drastic measures to tackle potentially life-threatening bugs have significantly reduced outbreaks in our hospitals, an investigation has found.

Police remain outside The Bull pub in Haverhill after an earlier stabbing.

A man was stabbed in Haverhill in the early hours of this morning.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie

A Victoria Cross recipient credited with turning defeat into victory at Gallipoli will be honoured in his home village this weekend – 100 years after he died in battle.

Julie Myerson

It was World Book Night this week. We asked some of our favourite local authors for the three books they’d most want on a desert island. Would you choose the ones they did?

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages