An ambulance service has been criticised by a coroner for an eight-and-a-half hour delay that meant a Suffolk man was not given treatment that could have saved his life.

Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, said the lengthy wait had 'directly contributed to the death' of Woodbridge resident Christopher Hart in a report to the Government's Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Mr Hart died at his home in Old Barrack Lane from a cardiac condition on October 25, 2022.

READ MORE: A&E and ambulance waits improve in Suffolk and north Essex

However, Mr Parsley said the East of England Ambulance Service was unable to attend immediately as ambulances were waiting to off-load patients at local hospitals.

The service has an average expected response time of 40 minutes for an emergency such as Mr Hart's, with a target attendance time of 18 minutes.

Mr Parsley said in the Future Prevention of Deaths report that during his investigations he had received evidence from a patient safety officer of regular occasions when ambulances were unavailable in Suffolk and the east of England.

READ MORE: Suffolk: A&E and ambulance waits worst ever recorded

East Anglian Daily Times: Mr Parsley said ambulances were experiencing delays at hospitalsMr Parsley said ambulances were experiencing delays at hospitals (Image: James Manning/PA)He added: "I am therefore concerned that the continuing lack of sufficient ambulance resource in Suffolk will lead to future loss of life."

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to Christopher Hart’s family for the delayed response.

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"We have noted the coroner’s comments to the secretary of state and will consider them carefully.

“As we related to the inquest, at the time of this incident the trust was under significant pressure due to 999 call volume and hospital handover delays.

"Since the start of 2023 our response times have improved due to work to increase the number of frontline staff and available ambulances, but we recognise there is a lot more work needed by us and our partners to improve our response to patients.

“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Hart at this time.”

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