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6 January 2018, 06:40
The East Of England Ambulance service has apologised after a pensioner died at her home in Clacton this week, while waiting almost 4 hours for an ambulance.
It emerged yesterday that the 81 year old had called 999 on Tuesday evening saying she was experiencing chest pains but was found dead by paramedics around 3 hours and 46 minutes later.
Sandy Brown, Deputy Chief Executive at EEAST said: "Our sincere condolences and apologies go out to the patient's family and friends and we are truly sorry for the ambulance wait that occurred at this incident.
"We have very publicly expressed how stretched the ambulance service is and the pressures our staff and the NHS as a whole have been under the past few days. As a Trust, we have experienced our busiest days ever and we know our partners in the hospitals are in the same situation.
"We are working in partnership but we are facing hospital handover delays, which can prevent us from responding as quickly as we need to.
"Regarding this incident, we received a call just before 8pm on 2nd January to a report of a woman with chest pain in Clacton. Due to extremely high demand on the service and delays at accident and emergency units, we were not able to immediately dispatch an ambulance. We had more than 4,200 calls across the East of England that day, more than 1,300 of which were in Essex and more than 250 were in North East Essex.
"A clinician in one of our control rooms made a welfare call and spoke to the patient at 9.47pm and an ambulance crew arrived at the address at 11.46pm. The patient was found unconscious and not breathing and sadly died at the scene."
What's happened is being investigated.
The GMB union says it's more evidence of the pressure the NHS is under this winter and the government's got to wake up to the crisis the health service is facing.