Independent Health Complaints Advocacy
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Even the most confident people can find themselves struggling to put things into words when faced with distressing situations. Read how our advocate, Ben, supported Diana to raise her concerns about how long an ambulance took to arrive when her partner, Peter, became ill in the care home where he was living. Sadly, Peter passed away and Diana found it very difficult to tell the ambulance service how she felt and ask questions.
A doctor was called out to the care home to see Peter. The doctor decided Peter needed to be taken to hospital and so contacted the local ambulance service to ask that an ambulance arrive to take him there within 2 hours.
It took nearly 9 hours for the ambulance to arrive. Peter died in hospital shortly after. Diana couldn’t understand why it had taken so long and strongly felt that Peter’s life would have been saved if he had been treated sooner.
Independent Health Complaints Advocate, Ben, worked with Diana over the phone to find out what had happened and what she wanted to achieve by making the complaint. This was done over three separate days as Diana found it very difficult to speak about it for long periods. Once he understood the situation, Ben wrote a letter on Diana’s behalf, which he sent to the ambulance service with her agreement. Diana really wanted to understand how the service decided how to prioritise their calls and how this led to the long wait.
Unfortunately, Diana wasn’t happy with the response, so they worked through it at a pace Diana felt comfortable with and agreed a second letter.
In their second response, the ambulance service offered a full apology and admitted they did not have enough resources in place on the night in question to cover the number of calls they received. They explained that, since the incident, the way that decisions were made had changed and this meant that the sickest patients would get the fastest response time and all patients get the right response first time.
Of course, this couldn’t change what had happened to Peter, but Diana felt reassured that action had been taken to make sure the same thing wouldn’t happen to someone else.