Why didn’t the police come to aid of nurses?
COMPLAINT: Letter sent to Chief Constable after nurses trapped
A DOCTOR has written to Kent’s Chief Constable Mike Fuller, asking if a travellers’ camp on the edge of Ashford is a no-go area for police.
Mr Fuller has been asked to explain why, despite calling for help, two district nurses were left trapped on the site at Chilmington, Great Chart, for 90 minutes after discovering a male patient dead.
The nurses were on a routine call last month to change dressings, when they found the patient had died in his mobile home.
Following correct procedure, as the man had not been seen by a doctor recently, they called for police to view the body, causing relatives to become agitated.
When the nurses’ cars were blocked in to prevent them leaving the site, they dialled 999 asking for police assistance which failed to materialise.
They only managed to get out in an ambulance, leaving their vehicles on the site. They then discovered up to 30 police officers, with dogs and a helicopter, waiting near the Singleton shopping centre. Although they were not threatened with physical harm, the nurses, who collected their cars later, took time off work with stress. They are both now back working.
Dr Julian Colledge, from Hamstreet Surgery, has written to police asking if there are no-go areas for police in Kent.
He said: “My staff and others within the primary care trust must be protected. How can health care be safely delivered if there is no response from police when people feel at risk?
“There may well have been grounds for misunderstanding as Romany families have ways of dealing with death and they like the deceased to stay in their homes until buried.
“But these nurses were blocked in and prevented from leaving the site. There is a strong sense that the NHS practice of zero tolerance must be supported by police.”
A police spokesman said it was not appropriate to comment on a private letter to the Chief Constable.
The patient was found to have died from natural causes.
Dr John Colledge wants answers from Chief Constable Mike Fuller