Councillor claims 999 operator could not contact ambulance service

Cllr.Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Cllr.Gerald Vernon-Jackson

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PORTSMOUTH City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson is calling for an investigation after claiming he faced delays during a 999 call.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson called 999 after finding a motorcyclist on the ground after a collision with a car in Milton Road, Portsmouth, at 12.40pm on Sunday.

But he says the operator could not make a connection with the ambulance service after three attempts.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said he stopped traffic with another driver as they waited for the emergency services to arrive and called the police.

He left when police officers arrived – but said the ambulance had still not turned up.

He said: ‘It was a disgraceful response. It couldn’t have been that busy on a Sunday.’

He has now written to Will Hancock, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Service.

He wrote that he parked his car and phoned the ambulance service, adding: ‘The reason for me writing to you was because the 999 operator could not get a connection with the ambulance service.

‘They tried three different numbers and received no answers on each occasion.

‘At the accident I found somebody else attempting to phone the ambulance service who was also not getting any answer and I left them to be the contact point for the ambulance service.

‘I ended up directing traffic around the area with another couple of members of the public and I was able to get through to the police who sent two cars within five minutes.

‘I am extremely concerned about the failure of the ambulance service to answer a 999 call in an emergency when the victim of the accident looked as if they might have had significant head injuries.

‘Please could I ask you to do a full and thorough investigation as to why the ambulance service failed so badly on this occasion.’

A ambulance service spokeswoman said: ‘The call was categorised as an amber call which requires a response on scene in 20 minutes of the first call being received. We arrived 15 minutes after the initial call, and no-one required any hospital treatment.

‘We would like to thank Cllt Vernon-Jackson for contacting us with his concerns. We take them very seriously and we will be conducting a thorough investigation, however until the outcome of this investigation is known we are unable to comment any further.’