Kate Osborne MP speaks out after North East Ambulance Service neglect and cover ups

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The North East Ambulance Service covered up fatal paramedic errors on multiple occassions.

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has spoken out after an independent review found the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) did not give some relatives a full explanation of the death of a loved one, if mistakes were made.

The review was ordered after The Sunday Times alleged last year that NEAS covered up fatal paramedic errors in 2018 and 2019, and deliberately altered or omitted important facts that families and coroners should have known.

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The article also stated that the whistle-blower alleged they were bullied and victimised for raising these concerns.

“As I said earlier in the year NEAS has been underfunded and understaffed for years - but that does not excuse management from being more concerned at protecting their reputation than protecting patients,” said Osborne. “The initial reports of neglect, cover ups and whistle-blowers being silenced were awful and I’m pleased that the investigation has acknowledged the financial issues whilst making many recommendations on how NEAS must urgently improve.”

The independent review highlighted the tragic case of a 17-year-old who was presumed dead by suicide. A NEAS paramedic declared her dead rather than trying to perform CPR.

Kate Osborne MP.Kate Osborne MP.
Kate Osborne MP.

The review stated that the paramedic, who has since been struck off, ignored national and local guidelines by not attempting advanced life support techniques.

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Osborne continued: “The review itself makes for upsetting reading, finding there was a “trend” for NEAS to provide coroners with “confusing or conflated” information rather than the original material and there was “no independent communications with families” which would have “lessened the trauma.”

“It also found opportunities for learning were missed, processes were not followed by NEAS and that the leadership was dysfunctional, reporting that staff were “fearful of speaking up” and those who did raise concerns were left “anxious, frustrated and stressed”.

NEAS have apologised for the distress caused to families and the mistakes that have been made.

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“I welcome the recommendations put forward in Dame Marianne Griffiths independent review and the apologies given to the families concerned,” continued Osborne.

“I will be meeting the Trust again shortly to seek their assurances that all the recommendations have been urgently complied with.”

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