Inquiry after police stop ambulance on 999 call

AN inquiry is under way after a police officer pulled an ambulance over as it raced to an emergency - leading to another ambulance having to be dispatched.

Anthony Bond

AN inquiry is under way after a police officer pulled an ambulance over as it raced to an emergency - leading to another ambulance having to be dispatched.

The ambulance was travelling along Main Road in Kesgrave, near Ipswich, with its blue lights flashing at about 10.30pm on Thursday night.

The East of England Ambulance Service has admitted the incident is “extremely rare” and said it will be reviewed internally.

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According to an eyewitness, the ambulance overtook cars in front of it, which resulted in it travelling “sideways” on the wrong side of the road.

A police car which was travelling in the opposite direction to the ambulance performed a U-turn in the road and pulled the ambulance over.

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Because of this, another ambulance had to be dispatched to the emergency.

Ashley Pickering, who witnessed the incident, said: “I was driving behind the police car and then I could see an ambulance with its lights on travelling in the other direction.

“There was some traffic on the ambulance's side of the road. It overtook the cars and went the wrong side of the traffic island. It was on completely the wrong side of the road, it was quite a manoeuvre.

“It was a little bit damp and slippery but the back end went out and the ambulance was sliding sideways down the road. It was fairly close to the police car who I think had to brake to avoid it. I honestly thought the ambulance was going to crash but the driver managed to hold it.

“The ambulance carried on going but the police car did a U-turn in the middle of the road and raced after it. The police officer caught up with the ambulance and pulled it over.”

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed that words of advice were given to the driver of the ambulance but no further action was taken.

The East of England Ambulance Service said another ambulance was dispatched to the emergency. But it said there was no delay in the care of the patient who needed treatment because a rapid response vehicle was already on scene. An internal inquiry will now take place into the incident.

Adrienne Watts, of the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “We can confirm that a Trust ambulance vehicle displaying blue lights and on-route to an emergency call in Kesgrave was stopped by police who were concerned about an overtaking manoeuvre. The police are fully within their rights to stop any emergency vehicle at any time and on this occasion no further action has been taken. The Trust will be reviewing the incident internally to ensure that driving guidelines are adhered to.”

Greg Grant, Eastern regional secretary for Unison which represents the NHS and police service, said: “It is unusual for the police to pull an ambulance and there must have been some concern on the part of the police to take that action. The police knew the ambulance was attending an emergency. I am not aware of any other circumstances like this which spring to mind.”

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