MP calls for review into rural ambulance response times following death of Blakeney chef Peter Nelson

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb. Picture: Denise Bradley

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A Norfolk MP has demanded a shake-up of paramedic response times after a 26-year-old died from a brain haemorrhage following a two hour ambulance wait.

Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who represents north Norfolk, said rural areas lose out to urban areas due to the eight and 19 minute targets set for paramedics nationally.

Ambulance staff should reach the most urgent 999 calls within eight minutes and get a vehicle to those patients within 19 minutes, according to NHS England.

Mr Lamb, minister for care and support, said the case of 26-year-old Blakeney chef Peter Nelson - reported in today's EDP - demonstrated 'change was necessary' in how the East of England Ambulance Service and other trusts were run.

He said: 'We need to look at the way the national targets work with ambulance response times. They end up distorting priorities. The easiest way to achieve the targets is to focus on urban areas. The result of that can be rural areas can lose out.

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'Someone with the same urgent need for care in a rural area might not get the same level of priority as someone in an urban area.'

Mr Lamb hopes to raise the issue with NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh next month as a matter of urgency and will use the case of Mr Nelson to highlight the problem.

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He branded the two hour delay as 'unacceptable' and added the system needed to focus on clinical priorities for different areas and patients who needed the care the most.

Mr Nelson, from Oddfellows Field, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after collapsing in his bathroom on November 14.

Father and stepmother Sidney Nelson, 59, and Haylie Wardhaugh, 45, called 999 at about 11.10pm.

The East of England Ambulance Service have launched an investigation into the delay.

Denise Burke, Act on Ambulances campaigner and Labour's prospective candidate for North Norfolk, said: 'Our sympathy is with Peter Nelson's family following his death after a delay in an ambulance reaching their home in Blakeney. No one should have to wait two hours for an ambulance when they are so ill.

'The East of England Ambulance Service must ensure that no other family has to suffer a similar experience in the future wherever they live.'

She added there was 'growing crisis' within the accident and emergency system.

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