Trust admits failings over ambulance wait

Luke Jones,10 with his mum Lisa Jones, at their home in Holme Slack after Luke had to wait two hours for an ambulance
Luke Jones,10 with his mum Lisa Jones, at their home in Holme Slack after Luke had to wait two hours for an ambulance
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Ambulance bosses have apologised to a mum who hit out at the length of time it took for an ambulance to arrive when her son was suffering from breathing difficulties.

Earlier this year we reported that Lisa Jones, 38, from Holme Slack, Preston was furious after it took two hours for a paramedic to attend after she called for help for her 10-year-old son Luke.

Now the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has written to Lisa following an investigation into what happened and admitted there had been failings.

The drama unfolded in April when Luke was struggling with his breathing one evening.

Lisa called 111 and asked for advice over whether to go to primary care or A&E she was told an ambulance would be dispatched, this was around 7pm.

Finally after calling back several times and finally directly calling 999 an ambulance arrived just after 9pm.

In the letter NWAS said the call handler dealing with the initial 111 call failed to record information that Luke was a known asthmatic and had been nebulised the same day on the record.

The call handler also failed to probe further into a question about Luke’s breathing, and it was determined by the investigation if this had happened there would have been an emergency eight minute response.

The Trust also said the emergency operations centre had failed to carry out regular searches to find an available ambulance.

The letter read: “The Emergency Operations Centre manager has identified the dispatcher responsible for allocating the emergency ambulance failed to undertake regular and consistent resource searches.

“Despite this error the manager has confirmed that the promptest possible response was provided to Luke.

“I wish to assure you that the findings of this investigation have been brought to the attention of the dispatcher concerned.

“The 111 service has confirmed that the errors identified by their audit have been brought to the attention of the call handler concerned. The call handler has been informed that this did now meet the standard expected by 111.

“Through reflective practice and constructive feedback learning had taken place to aid improvement.

“Further monitoring has been implemented to ensure an improved management of future calls.”

Today Lisa said: “I am glad they looked into it but I am still annoyed.

“The 111 call handlers need more training. What is it going to take?

“They obviously aren’t learning, it’s not the ambulance drivers’ fault, it’s the passing through the system that needs to change.

“I think drastic action needs to happen.”

A spokesperson for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust said: “We are sorry that Ms Jones had cause to raise a concern with the Trust and we sincerely apologise for any distress it caused her and her son. A thorough investigation has been carried out into the matter and the full findings reported back to the family. We would be more than happy to discuss our findings in more detail with Ms Jones if she wishes to contact the Trust directly.”