Huntingdon: Ambulance Service 'Found Wanting'

A Coroner has found the East of England Ambulance Service must learn from mistakes, after the death of a schoolgirl near Huntingdon.

14 year old Elouise Keeling collapsed with breathing problems during an Air Cadets sports day at RAF Brampton near Huntingdon, on June 25 last year. 

An ambulance was called at 7.44pm but was sent to RAF Wyton, 10 miles away, by mistake and did not arrive until 8.03pm. 

Elouise, who had suffered from asthma since she was 18 months old, died at the scene as her mother, Karen Keeling, looked on. 

At an inquest at Huntingdon Law Courts today, coroner David Morris said her death may not have been prevented even if the ambulance had arrived sooner. 

However he added: "There is a lot that needs to be addressed by the ambulance service.

There is good cause for those around her to feel aggrieved.

The tragedy could not have been avoided by any more timely arrival but that doesn't in anyway minimise the distress and concern on behalf of the family. 

I'm satisfied the ambulance service has been found wanting and has already taken many steps to address the issues raised.'' 

He returned a narrative conclusion that Elouise died from an acute asthma attack but, although an ambulance was sent to the wrong address, earlier intervention was unlikely to have changed the outcome.

East of England Ambulance Service Response.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "We have met with Elouise's family to explain what happened and apologise for the delay in getting an ambulance to her. 

Unfortunately we used a post code rather than a road name. 

Both RAF Wyton and RAF Brampton had the same postcode despite being some miles apart.

This meant that we didn't get an ambulance to Elouise until 15 minutes after the 999 call and despite the efforts of staff including an air ambulance doctor Elouise died. 

A full internal investigation has led to a number of changes being made to the way we work to prevent such tragic incidents from happening again.

This includes new processes for verifying addresses and flagging up concerns more quickly. 

We have met with the family to discuss these actions."

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