Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stevenage mother's 'agonising' 50 minute ambulance wait

A mother has told of an "agonising" 50 minute wait for an ambulance when her two-year-old young son collapsed.

Natalie Frost said paramedics arrived at Knebworth Park in 11 minutes to treat Charlie, but it took a further 40 minutes for an ambulance to turn up.

Ms Frost claims she heard the only available crews had either worked their hours or were on a lunch break.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) said the first response unit arrived within the required time.

Ms Frost, of of Stevenage, said Sunday's family day out came to "an abrupt end" at about 13:30 BST when Charlie fell to the ground with what they later discovered was a reflective anoxic seizure.

"He went rigid, his eyes were rolling, he was salivating and he then started to turn blue," she said.

"We kept trying to get a response from him with no avail."

'Agonising wait'

She added that paramedics from the rapid response unit gave Charlie oxygen and a blood sugar test showed his levels were "dangerously low".

"The paramedic was repeatedly radioing for an ambulance saying that he had an unresponsive two-year-old, but none were available," she said.

"We heard the operator say that crews were either up to their hours or on lunch.

"The wait was just agonising. There should be enough ambulances to cover lunch breaks."

After 51 minutes, a crew from Ware arrived and took Charlie to hospital.

EEAST spokesman Gary Sanderson said the emergency call was coded as serious but not life-threatening and required a 30 minute response.

"The response car arrived in 11 minutes so well within the 30 minute required timeframe for this call coding," he said.

"Patients are prioritised for most urgent clinical need."

Last week, five non-executive directors of the ambulance trust resigned following a damaging report on its performance.

Mr Sanderson said the response time for this incident was not connected to any shortfalls and the service was fully manned at their Hertfordshire bases on that day.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites