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Patient harm now ‘a continuing theme’, says cash-strapped trust

Incidents including a cardiac arrest where an ambulance took more than an hour to arrive and the patient died have prompted trust chiefs to suggest they cannot prevent patient harm under their current funding levels.

A report to the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) said patients suffering harm due to delayed ambulance response times “is a continuing theme due to the unprecedented demand the service is currently experiencing”.

The report said the trust is trying to secure additional funding from commissioners, which would “reduce the likelihood of a similar incident for other patients in future”.

NEAS has upheld several recent complaints made by families or patients about the harm being caused by delayed response times, but suggested the levels of demand on the service meant there was nothing it could have done differently.

In one example, a woman in her 50s died from a cardiac arrest shortly after arrival to hospital after NEAS took 62 minutes to respond to a 999 call. NEAS had designated the woman, who had a history of heart attacks, a category two response – which should aim to arrive within 18 minutes on average.

"All ambulance trusts have been seeing significant patient harm and the mainstream press have been strangely silent about this."

"That it has got the stage where patients are routinely dying and being harmed while the resources are available, but tied up waiting outside hospitals, is truly maladministration on a grand scale."

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 9 December 2021


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