We deserve answers for ambulance’s late arrival

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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The whole sorry saga of Christian Campbell suffering a brain haemorrhage is one of adding insult to injury.

This was obviously a 999 call for a grave problem.

So for the Campbells to have to wait nearly an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance must have seemed like a lifetime.

All ambulance service NHS Trusts are required to meet certain response targets, as defined by the Department of Health. When faced with a life-threatening situation, the aim is to respond within eight minutes. The target is to reach 75 per cent of cases in those first crucial eight minutes and 95 per cent of cases within 19 minutes.

Even if you allow that five per cent are going to miss that threshold, is it really acceptable that it should be more than four times that period of time before anyone arrives to help?

Of course not.

When South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) then failed to respond to the resulting complaint within its own recommended time of 25 days, you can understand why Christine’s family is so angry.

Scas has previously run campaigns against time-wasting 999 calls – where people make call-outs for trivial matters – as every one of those calls could be diverting resources from where they are urgently needed.

But there is no suggestion so far that anything like that was responsible for the delay here.

It is good to see that Scas has apologised for the lack of reply. But if there was to be a delay due to the case’s apparent complexity, then the family should have at least been notified.

While we appreciate that Scas does not want to make a comment before the investigation is complete, we can only hope that it sheds light on why this family was let down so badly.

The News takes no pleasure in criticising our health services – in the majority of cases they do a fantastic job – but when they fail as seriously as this, we deserve thorough answers.

Whatever the outcome, something somewhere went wrong and Mrs Campbell very nearly paid the ultimate price.

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