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Ambulance service admits to call centre failings prior to woman’s death

Posted on Jul 13 2010
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An ambulance service has admitted that staffing levels in its call centre were lower than usual when a woman died after waiting more than four hours for an ambulance.

 
Lilian Morgan Evans-Coates, of Tan yr Allt, Llanidloes, died from a haemothorax aneurysm on March 4 last year.
 
An inquest heard that her GP service (Shropdoc) called for an ambulance to pick up the 73-year-old within four hours to be taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
 
After an ambulance failed to turn up, Mrs Evans-Coates’s family called 999 – with paramedics arriving just before the woman died.
 
The Wales Ambulance Service said on the day of the incident staffing levels in the call centre had been low and that the incident could have been handled better.
 
Ian Smith, of the ambulance service, said: “Following the incident I compiled a report on what went wrong and the staffing levels were lower than normal that day due to sickness.
 
“There was a call from a GP at Shropdoc who requested an ambulance to take the patient into the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital within four hours. The information was passed on to the control centre and was logged into the system.
 
“There were a number of emergency calls in Powys and we were unable to get to her within four hours.”
 
He added had there been enough staff an ambulance from Machynlleth may have moved to cover Llanidloes. 
 
Since the incident, the service’s Powys call centre has moved to the West Wales room.
 
Peter Maddox, Powys coroner, recorded a verdict of death by natural causes, but said he hoped lessons had been learned. “I - and I am sure Mrs Evans-Coates’s family – will hope that lessons have been learned and that steps have been taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
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