Ambulance 'errors' in baby death case, solicitor says

  • 20 August 2013
  • From the section England
Media captionBella Hellings' mother said it took an ambulance 26 minutes to reach their home

A report into the death of a 17-week-old baby has found a "significant number of operational errors" by the ambulance trust, the family's solicitor has said.

Bella Hellings died in hospital after a fit, with her mother Amy Carter claiming an ambulance took "too long".

The East of England Ambulance Service has looked at what went wrong but not released its report publicly.

Solicitor Sharon Allison said it was a "distressing" read for the family.

'Got lost'

Ms Carter has said she called 999 in March when Bella had a fit and stopped breathing, and that it took an ambulance 26 minutes to reach their home in Thetford, Norfolk.

She also claimed the crew got lost several times en route to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, where Bella later died.

National guidelines state that an emergency response vehicle should reach 75% of patients deemed to be in a life threatening condition within eight minutes.

A full inquest into Bella's death is due to be held next month.

Speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk, Ms Allison said the ambulance service's report had looked at all contributing factors and had been seen by the family.

'Improve performance'

"The report has identified a significant number of operational errors which contributed to the delay in getting Bella the life-saving treatment she needed, so obviously it's been very distressing for Amy to read," she said.

"It is certainly very detailed and that gives them [the family] a lot of comfort that they have paid proper attention, given the severity of the situation."

Much of the report contained details on "significant demand and resource problems" at the ambulance service, which have already been widely reported, Ms Allison added.

She said the family would consider its legal position after the conclusion of the inquest.

In a statement, the East of England Ambulance Service said it carried out an internal investigation, the results of which had been shared as appropriate.

It added it was recruiting frontline staff and getting more ambulances on the road in order to "improve performance".

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