Can you claim ambulance delay compensation?
I was upset to read the recent tragic story in the Plymouth Herald of a woman who lived in Torpoint, Cornwall, who sadly died after waiting around seven hours for an ambulance to take her to hospital. Whilst there is no suggestion of negligence in this particular case, unfortunately, within our medical negligence department, we find that more and more people are entitled to claim ambulance delay compensation.
The Plymouth Coroner’s Court recently heard that the woman passed away at Derriford Hospital at the young age of 47. Her worried partner requested an ambulance to take her to hospital after she had vomited blood and became very short of breath, but the ambulance did not arrive until around seven hours later.
The coroner adjourned the hearing and therefore a full inquest will take place at a later date to be determined. Whilst the coroner’s opening statement confirms “There are no suspicious circumstances”, there was nevertheless a devastating outcome and my condolences go to her family.
South Western Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust subsequently made the following statement: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this patient. As this is an ongoing inquest, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage”.
If you are wondering whether you are entitled to claim ambulance delay compensation, it may be helpful to know what is expected of our ambulance service. English ambulance services are measured on their response time performance under the Ambulance Response Programme. This programme places emergency calls into four categories, with a different response time for each, depending on the severity of the reported symptoms:
- Life Threatening: For time critical life-threatening events requiring immediate intervention or resuscitation, the average response target for an ambulance to arrive is just seven minutes, with the top ninety per cent of responses targeted within fifteen minutes.
- Emergency: For potentially serious conditions that may require rapid assessment and urgent intervention at the scene and potentially urgent transportation to hospital, the average response target is eighteen minutes, with the top ninety per cent of responses targeted within forty minutes.
- Urgent: For urgent problems which are not immediately life-threatening, needing treatment to relieve suffering, transport to hospital or assessment and management at the scene with a referral for further treatment where appropriate, the average response target is around one hour, with the top ninety per cent of responses targeted within two hours.
- Less-Urgent: For problems that are less urgent but require further assessment and potentially transport to hospital where appropriate, the top ninety per cent of responses are targeted within three hours.
In circumstances where there has been a negligent ambulance delay leading to tragic consequences, no money can ever replace a loved one, but securing justice and ambulance delay compensation can hopefully help to ensure this happens as rarely as possible.
If you or a loved one have been affected by a negligent ambulance delay and think you may be entitled to ambulance delay compensation, then GA Solicitors may be able to assist you obtaining justice.
GA Solicitors in Plymouth has a personal injury team which is ranked in The Legal 500 and Chambers UK and has a specialist interest in medical negligence. You can be assured you are in the best possible hands. Call the team today on 01752 203500 or email enquiries@GAsolicitors.com for a no-obligation discussion.
You can read a case study of one of GA Solicitors’ medical negligence claims here.
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