Ambulance blunders revealed

EMAS ambulance.
EMAS ambulance.

A report reveals a catalogue of blunders by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), including the death of a patient who sustained a head injury when an ambulance left the road and crashed.

The NHS trust has revealed the mishaps over the last year in a serious incident performance report to its public board of directors.

It says it has done this because it is an “open and honest organisation which proactively encourages and supports staff to report serious incidents and near misses”.

The report says the ambulance that ran off the road was travelling at normal speed.

In another case, a patient, who was vomiting blood, was taken first to a hospital that could not admit him and he stopped breathing on the way to the next hospital. A paramedic was suspended from active duties pending an investigation.

There were 53 incidents in all, but six were downgraded following investigation and six were reported as near miss and no harm done.

Other incidents included:

* A patient with a suspected broken neck falling off the ambulance stretcher;

* A four-hour delay in reaching a woman who took a drug overdose. She later died;

* A 10-hour delay in allocating an ambulance to an 89-year-old man who had fallen at home.

* Police were called when codeine tablets went missing from two ambulance stations in Lincolnshire and morphine went missing from ambulances elsewhere.

EMAS is bottom of the country’s 12 ambulance services for poor response times, but claims a radical shake-up will improve that.

The plans, which have been approved despite widespread opposition, involve replacing 65 ambulance stations across the region with nine ‘superhubs’, 19 stations and more than 100 community points over the next five years.

In Lincolnshire there will be four superhubs – in Grantham, as well as Lincoln, Boston and Scunthorpe.