Lack of ambulance death records ‘shocks’ campaigner

Guy Grainger
Guy Grainger

The Midland Ambulance Service says it cannot confirm how many patients die on the way to hospital.

Horncastle campiagner Guy Grainger, who has been calling for better ambulance response times in rural Lincolnshire, says he is “shocked” that no-one within EMAS has looked at mortality figures since at least 2008.

He wants to know why no senior manager has even asked to see the data as central government recognises that measuring clinical outcomes is central to improving ambulance and other services.

Guy said: “It is extremely worrying that EMAS is operating without this key information. It is also scandalous that nobody knows, for example, if a higher proportion of people are dying in areas like Market Rasen and Horncastle which suffer from poor ambulance response times.”

The lack of records came up during questioning between EMAS and the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee, which is made up of county and district councillors.

In a written response at a recent meeting, EMAS said: “If crew transfer a patient, they will continue resuscitation until a doctor at the receiving hospital stops it.

”Technically, it means no patients have died in the vehicle as they are still being treated, it is only a qualified doctor that can certify death.”

Asked how many patients were already dead when the ambulance arrived, EMAS said: “We only collect this information for patients where we have attempted resuscitation. If the patient was obviously dead on our arrival, we would not attempt resuscitation and therefore our clinical audit/clinical governance department would not collect the data.”