Future of London Ambulance Service under debate
- By: Jason Neale-Roach
Three Court of Appeal judges ruled this month that ambulance services can be liable to pay compensation for injuries resulting from failure to respond to 999 calls within a reasonable time. This test case ruling could leave ambulance services open to a huge increase in costly litigation. Tracey Kent, a 35 year old asthma sufferer, was awarded more than £360 000 when she claimed that she had suffered brain damage because an ambulance had not responded quickly enough when she suffered an acute asthma attack in February 1991. Mrs Kent, who was 12 weeks pregnant at the time of the attack, claimed that she suffered respiratory arrest and loss of her baby as a direct result of waiting 34 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
The latest appeal hearing against the ruling was held last month, after a previous appeal was overturned in 1998. James Munby, QC for the service,