Portsmouth: Son's Anger After Mother Found Dead

24 February 2015, 18:13 | Updated: 24 February 2015, 18:18

A son has spoken of his anger after he found his mother dead in the front room of her Portsmouth home nearly 10 hours after she had called for an ambulance.

Lawrence Thorpe, a teacher, discovered his mother, Ann Walters, 61, at her home on December 28 last year at 6pm.

He was to find out from a doctor who visited two hours later that his mother, who had a hole in her heart, had called for help at 8.25am that morning.

Mr Thorpe, 24, found out that an ambulance had been dispatched as an emergency but was recalled when it was only four minutes away from reaching his mother, who died from heart failure.

Mr Thorpe wrote on Facebook:

``On the 28th of December 2014 at 6pm I found my mother dead in the front room of her house in Portsmouth, Hants.

``After dealing with the paramedics and police, I returned to the house to gather my things with my sister so that I could stay at hers. At approx. 8.30pm as we were getting ready to leave, the house was visited by a drive-around GP who both told and showed us the 111 pathway disposition from a call logged at 08.25 the same morning.

``My mother called the service saying she couldn't breathe and wanted help. My mother had known heart and lung problems, which had been going on for years. Her regular GP has printed the 111 service logs for me.

``Because of this I know roughly when my mother died, but I am, however, infuriated that she called for help and that no help came. Instead I was left to find my mother dead and my sister, who hadn't spoken to my mum for several years, was robbed of her chance to say good-bye.''

He added: ``It turns out that an ambulance was dispatched from QA (Queen Alexandra) hospital with an ETA of seven minutes and 40 seconds at 08.25am. However this ambulance as recalled at an ETA of approximately four minutes 30 sec.

``Neither myself nor the NHS at this point know why the operator for 111 stopped the ambulance on its way.

``The operator has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.''

A South Central Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: ``The original call was answered and correctly assessed by the NHS 111 service and was very quickly and appropriately passed to the 999 service given the nature of the call and the information given by the caller.

``A full investigation is currently under way focusing on all aspects of our response to this patient.

``South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) takes our response to our patients very seriously and we would like to apologise to the family for the distress caused as a result of this regrettable incident and would like to offer our sincere condolences.

``We are in contact with the patient's family so that we can fully address their concerns. SCAS follows all internal policies and procedures in the handling of such cases. As this investigation is still ongoing we are unable to comment further at this time.''