Ambulance boss apologises over allegations body was left next to bins and promises full investigation

PUBLISHED: 10:38 17 October 2014

Ely Ambulance Station

Ely Ambulance Station

Archant

The chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service has apologised following claims that the body of a 32-year-old man was left on the floor of an ambulance station for more than an hour because paramedics wanted to finish their shift on time.

Chief executive Anthony Marsh said he was “very sorry for what happened” and said an investigation was taking place.

He said: “We are very sorry for what happened. We have launched a thorough investigation. This involves working with the family and everyone who responded to the patient.”

A whistle-blower working in the East of England Ambulance Service claimed that the body of James Harrison, 32, of Littleport, was left next to bins at Ely Ambulance Station, in Nutholt Lane, instead of being taken directly to a mortuary at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

The whistle-blower alleges that an ambulance crew from Downham Market responded to the call to collect Mr Harrison’s body from outside Littleport fire station, in Ponts Hill but were about to finish a night shift and didn’t want to make the trip to Cambridge.

He said the crew “were then authorised” to leave the body in the garage area and return home.

Paramedics discovered the body on the floor, next to bins, more than an hour later when they arrived for work at the Ely ambulance station.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “An incident last month involving the transportation of a deceased patient is under investigation, and as such we cannot comment any further.”

The spokesman said that the family of the man would be contacted as the investigation was carried out.

MP for North East Cambridgeshire, Stephen Barclay told ITV Anglia he was concerned about the incident: “This is quite outrageous to treat a body which such a lack of dignity. We do need a full investigation to find out why the staff were told what they appear to have been told.”

And Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner, added: “It is a very strange thing to have happened and obviously its got to be investigated and whoever is responsible for that has got to be held to account.”

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