Government Commits to Investigate Ambulance Service Over Deaths Cover up Claims

Date:
24/05/2022

The Government’s commitment to investigate allegations that an ambulance trust covered up evidence about deaths linked to mistakes made by paramedics “more thoroughly” has been welcomed by medical negligence lawyers.

The Sunday Times reported that the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) had prevented relatives from knowing the full details about how their loved ones died in 2018 and 2019, with concerns raised in relation to more than 90 cases.

Kate Sweeney, Director of Injury Practice Area at Simpson Millar, said the claims were ‘deeply troubling’ and that an inquiry should be expedited to determine whether more families had been affected.

She said: “This matter seriously calls into question the commitment of the NHS to embrace a duty of candour when it comes to being open and transparent with the people who use its services.

The families of those impacted by the findings that the NEAS made significant failings with regards to how it conducted itself in assisting coroners with their investigations - including failing to disclose reports and altering documents prior to submitting them - deserve answers.

“A commitment from the Government that it is their intention to investigate the NEAS further will no doubt be welcome, and it is absolutely imperative that any investigation looks into not only failings in the care received by patients, but also the cover up culture that appears to have dominated for many years.

“It must also consider whether more families were affected.”

Kate added that the behaviour of the NEAS, whose own staff raised many concerns regarding deaths in 2018/19, is so serious in nature that only a Government inquiry will suffice. She continued: “We can only hope it is conducted thoroughly and swiftly for those families who still have many questions regarding the care of their loved ones.”

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