Student died after 999 target pressure
A WOMAN died after 999 call handlers wrongly downgraded her parents’ emergency calls because of pressure to hit targets, an inquest has heard.
When Kathryn Richmond, 20, collapsed at home with a ruptured spleen, her parents called 999. Her case was listed as red 2, meaning an ambulance should have reached her in minutes.
But errors in the call centre meant vehicles sent to her were twice diverted. Further delays were caused by half the ambulance crews in her area being on meal breaks.
Paramedics finally arrived after 90 minutes but Miss Richmond, of Poole, Dorset, died in hospital four hours later. A consultant said had she received treatment earlier she could have survived.
Nicholas Mcguinness, a senior dispatcher, said staff were under pressure. “We used to have ambulances waiting for calls. Now we have calls that are waiting for ambulances,” he said.
Rachael Griffin, Dorset coroner, recorded a narrative verdict and is to write to the Health Secretary to suggest meal breaks be staggered.
Ambulances called to Kathryn Richmond, 20, left, were twice diverted