A mum-of-four who was promised a "blue light response" because she was struggling for breath died of a heart attack after waiting 11 HOURS for an ambulance.
Hannah Houghton, 36, suffered from cystic fibrosis and was struggling to breathe shortly before her fiancé James Jackman called for an ambulance.
He dialled 999 at 7.20pm on December 18 but first responders only made it to the couple’s home in Kings Norton, Birmingham, at 5.53am the next morning.
Hannah was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham - which is just three miles from her home - where she was treated for dangerously low blood pressure. The ambulance arrived at the QE at 6.46am.
She was transferred to intensive care but suffered a fatal cardiac arrest and died in the early hours of December 22. Handover to the Emergency Department was at 7.22am.
Her grief-stricken fiancé James, 38, says his partner may have been saved if she had been taken to hospital earlier. The builder said: “Who knows really but I think that if treatment had started 11 previously then we could be facing a different situation. Instead we have four children without a mother. It could have made a difference. I was told I would get a blue light response but there could be a delay.
“I sat up with her until 6.15 in the morning when they turned up. I couldn’t believe the delay. I was trying to make her as comfortable as possible throughout the night and kept keeping an eye on her. She fought, she was a fighter. I sat with her for ten minutes and told her I loved her and then she went.”
James is now demanding action from government and health bosses. He said: “When the paramedics did turn up, you could tell they were all exhausted.
“They did a great job and got Hannah to hospital on a blue light as quickly as possible. I am not putting fault on them. This problem lies further up in the government. I know you can’t predict what would have happened if she was seen to earlier, but it could have made all the difference.”
NHS chiefs say the current crisis in the health service is unprecedented. Tracy Bullock, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands, said: “I’ve been in the NHS for 38 years and of those I’ve worked 32 Christmas and this has been the most difficult Christmas that I’ve ever witnessed.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Firstly, we would like to apologise to the family of Miss Houghton for the delayed response and offer our condolences.
“Sadly, we are seeing some patients wait a very long time for ambulances to arrive as a result of long hospital handover delays. The pressures we are seeing in health and social care means that when our crews arrive at A&E they are unable to handover patients to hospital staff and therefore cannot respond to the next patient in the community.
“If there are long hospital handover delays, with our crews left caring for patients that need admitting to hospital, they are simply unable to responding to the next call, which can impact on the care of the patient in the community.
“We are working incredibly hard with our partners to find new ways to reduce these delays, so that our crews can respond more quickly and save more lives.”