"Why did the paramedics not use the master key they know about?"

About: Poole General Hospital / Cardiology South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a relative),

My 91 year old mother suffered chest pains during the night last week. She lives in warden assisted flats. Keys to get into the building are known about by the Ambulance Service, there is a key to get in the building and a master key for the flats. Despite this the paramedics only got into the main building and then telephoned my mother to let them into her flat. Why was the master key not used? What would have happened if she had been unable to get to to her front door? Why did the paramedics not contact the warden?

Fortunately she was able to ask the Poole Hospital staff to telephone me the next morning otherwise no-one would have known where she was. Normally, the warden would have told me, but she didn't know anything about it. It turns out that she had a very mild heart attack and is now back at home.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Hi ginny94

Thank you taking the time to share your story - I hope your mother is recovering well at home.

I am very sorry hear of this experience.

Our Control centre, where ambulance calls are received, does have information for some addresses that enable our ambulance crews to access properties under emergency conditions; e.g. the location of master keys and so forth. Although our ambulance staff were able to access your mother's building, it isn't clear how that happened and there are a number of methods the staff might have taken.

I think it would be beneficial for us to look into this further to ascertain what happened on this occasion. In order to do this, we will need some specific information regarding your mother's address and date of the call to help us identify the event. If you are happy for us to do this, may I ask you to contact our Patient Experience team on either 01392 261 585 or SWAST.patientexperience.nhs.net and one of the team will be very happy to help you further.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide feedback.

Kind regards


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story