Mother's plea for answers on son's death

A MOTHER fighting for answers over the death of her son in a town centre street today appealed to the department investigating the tragedy to shed light on the progress of its probe.

A MOTHER fighting for answers over the death of her son in a town centre street today appealed to the department investigating the tragedy to shed light on the progress of its probe.

More than a year-and-a-half after the sudden death of David Halley-Frame, the 25-year-old asthmatic's heartbroken mum Diane is crusading for changes to the NHS after overstretched ambulance services failed to reach him in time.

But a year after the Healthcare Commission received her complaint and began looking into the death, Ms Halley-Frame is no closer to discovering if the department has unearthed new information about how and why her son died.

Today she appealed to those handling the case to end her torment.

Ms Halley-Frame said: “It will be two years in August of losing David and that's too long as far as I am concerned. I feel it is being swept under the carpet.

“I thought perhaps we'd get answers quicker by going through a department like that rather than just going through it ourselves but it seems as though they are fobbing me off.”

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Mr Halley-Frame, a healthcare assistant at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich, suffered a serious asthma attack while on a night out with friends in the early hours of August 27, 2005. Despite a number of 999 calls it took 31 minutes for an ambulance to reach him.

A minute before the ambulance crew finally arrived he stopped breathing and attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The Healthcare Commission received Ms Halley-Frame's request for an investigation on April 30 last year. Since then it has sent her a series of letters informing her that it is compiling information on the case.

However Ms Halley-Frame, of King's Way, Ipswich, is still no closer to finding out when, or if, she will ever get answers to her many unanswered questions.

A spokesman for the Healthcare Commission said: “While we aim to get complaints resolved as quickly as possible some take longer than others. There can be delays in the process. It depends on the complexity of the case.”

This week Ms Halley-Frame turned 49 but instead of being able to celebrate, her unrelenting sadness over her son's death has left her life in ruins. She has been unable to return to her job at St Clement's Hospital because she feels the NHS has let her family down.

Ms Halley-Frame, who also has a daughter, said: “I feel at the end of the day they let me and David down.

“I am so angry because in my eyes it shouldn't have happened.

“There's not a day goes by when I don't look at the pictures and think he should still be here with me.”

Today the East of England Ambulance Trust said it also hoped the Healthcare Commission investigation would be completed soon.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We submitted our initial answers last May and we heard back in December with some supplementary questions, some of which needed the Coroner's report to answer fully and correctly.

“We didn't get the Coroner's report back until the end of March. We sent a letter off on April 2 back to the HCC with our answers.

“We've responded as fully and as quickly as possible to all the questions that have been asked and we also look for a quick resolution from here on.”

What do you think? Have you had a matter investigated by the Healthcare Commission? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

DAVID Halley-Frame died after he collapsed in Upper Orwell Street in Ipswich town centre after a night out with his best friend Jermaine Robinson.

An inquest revealed that the popular former Holywells High School student died from acute bronchial asthma but Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean found that there was a chance he could have been saved had an ambulance reached him sooner.

It was just before 3am when the 25-year-old suffered the attack near the Kings Kebab shop.

He asked his friends to call for an ambulance and the first call was made at 2.53am. Over the next 30 minutes several desperate 999 calls were made.

An ambulance finally arrived at 3.24am after being dispatched from Bury St Edmunds because all crews in Ipswich were attending other jobs at the time.

Government targets require the ambulance trust to reach 75 per cent of potentially life threatening calls within eight minutes.

After the inquest, the ambulance trust described the circumstances surrounding his death as “extremely regrettable” but said it had faced an “exceptionally rare” busy period at the time Mr Halley-Frame needed help.

After hearing the details of his death, Ms Halley-Frame vowed to push for changes to the NHS so that greater funding and higher levels of service could be provided to those who needed it most.

She said: “I know it's not going to bring my David back.

“They will never ever realise the devastation those actions caused so many people.”

Her sister Janice Plumb, David's aunt, of Severn Road, Ipswich, said: “Going to the Healthcare Commission wasn't going to do us any good but unless you complain about something nothing ever gets fixed.

“It's only by people complaining to the Healthcare Commission about sections of the NHS that anything ever gets changed.

“We know that government departments don't move quickly, we appreciate that. We don't expect it done and dusted in two to three months. What we do expect is a personal letter telling us 'this is what we have done and this is where we are in the investigation'.”

The Healthcare Commission is the health watchdog in England.

Its job is to check that healthcare services are meeting standards in a range of areas, including safety, cleanliness and waiting times.

The commission is responsible for reviewing complaints about the NHS or independent healthcare services in England that have not been resolved locally.

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