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East of England Ambulance Pilot Scheme Fails


There has been a lot of publicity in the press recently about the serious failing by paramedics and GPs who took part in the East of England Ambulance Service Trust Trial.


Mr Frere-Smith was one of three patients who died following the trial, the inquest was told. A fourth required intensive care.

Mr Frere-Smith suffered a fracture of the skull and a sub-dual haemorrhage but was not taken to hospital because a paramedic thought it was a minor wound. That decision was made after the paramedic had spoken to a GP who was based at the ambulance headquarters. This decision breached the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) which states patients with head injuries should be taken to hospital if the patient is intoxicated by alcohol.


Money saving before patient safety


This highlights the tragedies that can happen when money saving is put ahead of patient safety and good practice. The idea behind the trial was to treat patients at home, with assistance from a GP consultation based at the ambulance headquarters. Thus to avoid taking patients to busy hospitals unnecessarily. Sadly, this trial has failed, costing patients’ lives.


Penny Horne, Specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor of GMS LAW.