NHS 111 scandal: 25 deaths blamed on ambulance delays

The deaths of up to 25 patients have come under investigation following an NHS 111 scandal which saw ambulances delayed deliberately for patients with “life-threatening” conditions, a whistleblower told the Telegraph. Senior managers at South East Coast Ambulance trust were warned repeatedly that their “rogue operation” was risking lives, yet the secret policy was allowed to continue, the source said. Documents seen by The Telegraph show how the consequences of the unauthorised policy of deliberately delaying ambulances to thousands of patients suffering from potentially fatal conditions were covered up.

Under NHS rules, calls designated as “life-threatening” are supposed to receive an ambulance response within eight minutes regardless of whether the caller dials 999 or the non-emergency 111 line. But the ambulance trust, which covers Sussex, Kent, Surrey and North East Hampshire, “unilaterally” invented its own system resulting in the routine downgrading of 111 calls, giving paramedics an extra 10 minutes to attend.



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