Stu­dent died af­ter 999 tar­get pres­sure

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Vic­to­ria Ward

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

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