Back to Blog

Paul Sankey: the ambulance service: errors and cover-ups

News not only that a catalogue of failures by ambulance crews and paramedics may have led to a patient’s death but that the mistakes were then covered up to avoid the family knowing are deeply shocking. Read more about the story at
This story concerns the North East Ambulance Service. I am acting on a claim concerning another ambulance service who were called 4 times on one morning. They eventually attended in response to the third call, found the woman in such pain that they gave her morphine without taking her to hospital – a breach of their guidelines and then left. Minutes after they left the woman collapsed and after returning in response to a fourth emergency call the woman died. Worryingly the ambulance records have all gone missing – suggesting that the crew may have tried to cover up their failures. Fortunately they left a copy of their records with the family so that we have a record of exactly what they did.
We rely on ambulance services to make difficult judgment calls. They have to juggle priorities often on the basis of little information and in many cases they do an excellent job, often at the front line where good care can make the difference between life and death. The story about the North East Ambulance Service and my client’s case show that mistakes occur from time to time. What is particularly worrying about both is the suspicion of cover up in both. It is important for the sake of patients and their families that there is transparency about failings. Facing up to mistakes is also the best way to ensure that they do not happen again.Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.