Family demand answers to death

DISTRAUGHT relatives of a young asthmatic who died after waiting more than half an hour for an ambulance are today demanding answers from ambulance chiefs over the delay in getting help to him.

DISTRAUGHT relatives of a young asthmatic who died after waiting more than half an hour for an ambulance are today demanding answers from ambulance chiefs over the delay in getting help to him.

David Halley-Frame's family members have called on the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust to release detailed information about its response to desperate 999 calls from the 25-year-old's friends after he collapsed in Ipswich town centre in the early hours of August 27.

They have submitted a formal complaint to the trust over the 31-minute delay in getting an ambulance to the stricken healthcare assistant from Ipswich's King's Way as he lay dying in Upper Orwell Street.

The relatives say answers to the 15 questions they have submitted will not help them deal with their pain over Mr Halley-Frame's death but they hope it will prevent similar tragedies happening again.


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In the letter of complaint to trust chiefs seen by The Evening Star, Mr Halley-Frame's mother Diane said: “Our aim in filing this complaint is that the ambulance trust can learn lessons for the future and whilst it will not help David, or his family, we hope to prevent any future occurrence.

“Our aim is to help others and seek answers for ourselves.”

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But the family has hit out at the ambulance trust's response to their concerns in the weeks following his death and they have accused staff of making them feel guilty for complaining.

Ms Halley-Frame, also of King's Way, said: “We were…made to feel guilty as to why we were questioning response times, when all crews were allegedly attending life threatening calls and one ambulance in particular attending to 'an infant fitting'.

“We do not begrudge others being treated, we simply wish to know why it took so long for David to receive the treatment he urgently needed.”

And she added: “We feel that as a bereaved family our questions were either ignored or not fully answered.”

The ambulance trust today confirmed it had received a formal complaint from Ms Halley-Frame on October 4 and pledged to provide the family with answers by November 1.

Trust spokesman Matthew Ware said: “We've received the complaint and we are now investigating it formally. We will have completed our investigation within 20 working days.”

Weblink: www.eastanglianambulance.com

N Have you had waited longer than you should have for an ambulance? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

QUESTIONS PANEL

Some of the questions the Halley-Frame family are demanding answers to:

Why it took an ambulance 31 minutes to respond to a category A incident.

Where the nearest available ambulance was located and what the trust's policy is on using vehicles from other ambulance trusts.

How the trust justified having only 13 ambulances manned out of the 16 ambulances which should have been on duty on the night Mr Halley-Frame died.

Why no rapid response vehicles or individual paramedics were on shift at the time.

Why David's friends who called 999 were not told it would take so long to get an ambulance to him.

THE STORY SO FAR

Mr Halley-Frame, a healthcare assistant at St Clements Hospital, was struck down by what is thought to have been a massive asthma attack after a Saturday night out in Ipswich town centre. He was twice resuscitated by passers-by but died later in Ipswich Hospital.

His friends first called for an ambulance at 2.53am but help did not arrive until 3.24am despite the ambulance trust having a response time target of eight minutes for life threatening calls.

It was later revealed that the trust was unable to provide a full quota of staff for that evening and the crews on duty were attending other life-threatening calls when Mr Halley-Frame fell ill.

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