Nurse cancels ambulance one minute from dying woman’s house

Nurse cancels ambulance one minute from dying woman’s house

A nurse working for the NHS 111 has said that her decision to cancel an ambulance, which was just a minute away from the home of a dying woman, was wrong.

Ann Walters, who 61 years old, was found dead by her son ten hours after she had called the emergency services.Mrs Walters called 111 at around 8am on December 28, 2014 and asked for a doctor to visit her. She told staff that she has a heart defect. The nurse, Peter Richardson answering thecal noticed her breathlessness and classified her case as an emergency and called 999 to send an ambulance. An ambulance was sent from Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital to her home. However, Mr Richardson called Mrs Walters back and then cancelled the ambulance just as the paramedics were on their way.

Mr Richardson said at the inquestthat he had made the wrong decision. Richardson, who is a clinical support desk practitioner for the 111 service and a triage nurse with South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), has also apologised to her family. He said that he decided to cancel the ambulance as the woman said she wanted to be seen by a GP and not an ambulance. An investigation into the matter has found that the nurse did not fully understand the patient's condition.

Lucy Stephens, director of operations for SCAS clinical co-ordination centres, said, "There was no recognisable structured approach to determine medical history and no rationale for decision making.There was no understanding of heart failure or the ability to pick up on significant signs from the patient such as her inability to speak."

The authorities have suspended Mr Richardsonfrom telephone duties and an action plan has been put in place regarding competency of telephone triage. This has now been extended to all SCAS staff.