"Ambulance response team - excellent service"

About: Kettering General Hospital

On Thursday just after 1.30pm my husband found his mother had died on the kitchen floor when he called round after she had failed to turn up for her hair appointment at 1.00pm. He immediately called 999 and they went through a series of questions in case there was any signs of life. Within 3 minutes the ambulance repsonse paramedics had arrived and quickly took over to confirm that life was extinct. My husband contacted me and I arrived with my brother in law a few minutes later. The female and male paramedics were extremely kind to us all and listened considerately to our natural worries and concerns over how she had died and did their best to allay any fears we had. They treated us and our mother with dignity and respect and really made an effort to understand what we were going through as well as professionally conducting a thorough assessment of the situation and completing the necessary reports. Thank you for helping us at such a difficult time. My only concern has nothing to do with the response, treatment or professionalism of the Ambulance service but to do with system. Ambulance, A&E and emergency response units are under an incredible amount of strain, as we all know from everything we read and see in the media. We have what is confirmed as life extinct by paramedics within a few minutes & necessary questions and paperwork completed within 30 minutes maximum. The Police also have to attend as the death was at home. However, the ambulance response crew could not leave until the Police arrived and that was around 2 and a half hours later. The Ambulance Control Room were calling for crews to attend other incidents; our fantastic paramedics and all their training and experience and their well equipped ambulance had to stay at our house chatting to us as they were not allowed to leave until the Police arrived, they did even ask the Control Room if they could leave to attend another incident but were told they could not. Likewise when the Police arrived after 4pm apologising as they are also short staffed he said he could not leave until either the Doctor came out to certify death or the coroners undertakers had been given permission to collect the body and he would have to escort them back to the Morgue at KGH. The undertakers arrived just before 6.45pm, so again we have the Police resources sitting in our house unable to leave for about 2 and a half hours when his job also may have taken a maximum of 30 minutes. I totally understand the reasons, mainly to do with preserving the evidence and body but surely this wastage of professional time and precious resources could be filled with either a small team of trained volunteers or trained office staff/carers who can be contacted and go directly out to sit with the family and listen compassionately to them while ensuring any legal procedures are followed freeing up the professional staff. The NHS transformation needs to reorganise to use all resources efficiently to survive.

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