A MISSING patient abandoned for hours in the back of an ambulance parked in a garage is just one of 57 ‘serious untoward incidents’ reported by Cheshire’s ambulance service.
Unexplained deaths, delays in treatment and response, and staff being attacked are just some of the out of the ordinary events recorded in the last three years, which were revealed following a Pioneer Freedom of Information request to the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
In 2009 NWAS – which has six stations across the Cheshire West and Chester authority in Chester, Tattenhall and Ellesmere Port – reported a patient who was lost in the middle of the night while being transported to a kidney specialist centre.
The log read: “Patient being transferred from renal unit to acute trust by patient transport services at 19:15.
“Acute trust reported patient missing at 23:58 when they had not arrived at destination.
“Patient found in vehicle parked in ambulance station garage at midnight.”
In another incident from 2009 a paramedic was injured in a road accident while en route to a collision and was unable to continue.
Because of the crash, emergency services teams at the scene were one paramedic short, so a police officer stepped in to drive the ambulance to a nearby casualty ward.
Earlier this year staff recorded a “Delay in ambulance response” where a patient subsequently died.
Maddy Edgar, Senior Communications Manager for North West Ambulance Service, said: “All incidents are reported on an Incident Report Form, and then investigated, initially, by the line manager of the member of staff involved.
“Details of incidents are also forwarded to the healthcare governance team who decide if the incident requires further investigation either by a specialist manager within the trust, external expertise or senior management within the trust.
“Following investigation, local actions to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence are undertaken.
“Further investigations or root cause analysis is then presented along with an action plan for implementation of the recommendations to the appropriate subcommittee or team in the trust.”
“The trust operates a Health and Safety Business Group, Incident Learning Forum, Health and Safety subcommittee and Clinical Governance and Safety sub-committee in addition to medical directorate which leads on incident investigation and reporting on behalf of the Trust board and Chief Executive.”
The Pioneer asked the NWAS for more information on where and when each of the incidents took place but was told the trust could not find the information.
Rachel Syed, trust legal co-ordinator, said: “It is the view of the trust that the cost of determining, locating, retrieving and extracting each individual incident would exceed the 18 hour appropriate limit.
“I regret therefore that the trust cannot be of any further assistance to you about this matter.”