MP calls for probe after ambulance delay

AN MP has called for an investigation after an ambulance took twice as long as it should have done to reach a heart attack victim who later died.

Jonathan Barnes

AN MP has called for an investigation after an ambulance took twice as long as it should have done to reach a heart attack victim who later died.

Alfred Clark, 76, from Clacton, collapsed at the wheel of his car while driving along Felixstowe seafront on Sunday.

But, despite being just a few hundred yards from the town's ambulance station, a crew did not arrive until 17 minutes after the 999 call. For a life-threatening situation an ambulance should arrive in eight minutes.

A crew did eventually arrive shortly after 10am but, despite paramedics' efforts and those of a police officer who was first on the scene, Mr Clark died an hour later at Ipswich Hospital.

The East of England Ambulance Service said all crews were busy on 999 calls at the time of the incident.

Most Read

But the MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, said the wait for emergency treatment was “too long” and called for an urgent inquiry.

“Mr Clark's family are going to want to know exactly what happened and it is right this is properly investigated,” he said. “It is too long to have to wait - if people are in a life-threatening situation they need to know that an ambulance will come quickly.

“I believe there is a problem with getting ambulances to coastal towns in Essex and Suffolk quickly enough.”

Last nighttributes were paid to Mr Clark, who lived in Pauline Close.

“He was such a nice man,” said a neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous. “He loved his car and used to spend hours tinkering over it. He used to love going to Snetterton Market on a Sunday and Felixstowe as well.

“He kept himself to himself but we used to have nice chats over the fence. I was dumbfounded when I heard what had happened. He was such a nice neighbour and we will miss him.”

It is believed that Mr Clark, whose wife passed away a number of years ago, leaves behind one daughter and three sons.

The pensioner's Vauxhall Astra estate collided with a parked car at the junction of Sea Road and Platters Road in Felixstowe shortly after 9.40am on Sunday.

He was found to be unconscious and not breathing. Ambulance and police were called to the scene at 9.44am but an ambulance crew did not arrive until 10.01am. Mr Clark died at Ipswich Hospital at about 11am.

A post-mortem has been carried out which found that he had suffered a heart attack.

The mayor of Felixstowe, Mike Deacon, has also called for a full investigation into the delay.

He said it was “totally unacceptable” an ambulance should take so long to reach an incident in a town the size of Felixstowe.

“This was a busy sunny Sunday and there are always many extra people in the town on fine weekends, which makes it more worrying,” he said.

An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokeswoman said every Suffolk ambulance was already on a 999 call when the incident happened.

“It just was an exceptionally busy time. The ambulance had been in Hintlesham previously and it would have been the nearest available resource to go,” she said.

The Greater Suffolk coroner's office said there would not be an inquest into Mr Clark's death.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter