Fresh claims of bodies 'left' at Ely Ambulance Station
PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 October 2014 | UPDATED: 08:53 23 October 2014
A paramedic who worked for the East of England Ambulance service for more than 30 years believes that dead bodies could have been left unattended at Ely Ambulance Station on previous occasions.
He claimed that a culture of fear has prevented staff from speaking out.
The paramedic says he witnessed an incident about four years ago of a young man’s body being left on the floor at the station for a number of hours because ambulance staff wanted to finish their shift on time.
He says the incident left him “shocked” and that it was one of the reasons behind deciding to leave the East of England Ambulance Service. The paramedic believes that this practice could have been happening regularly and an agreement would have been in place between senior staff to keep it quiet.
The revelations come after a whistle-blower told the Ely Standard that the body of Littleport man James Harrison was left next to bins at the city’s ambulance station in September because a night-shift crew wanted to get home on time.
The paramedic said: “I was horrified to read the article because I remember a young man who was killed in a road accident and when I went to the station there was a corpse on the floor in a body bag. I asked what was going on but there was someone there who said it was being sorted and it was just brushed under the carpet.
“I was shocked and I wish I had made more of a fuss at the time. It is certainly not what we should be doing.
“They kept it quiet amongst themselves to save anyone getting into trouble, it’s quite a serious thing to have done.
“It has happened definitely the once and I would say that it happens regularly.”
The paramedic says he can understand why staff might not want to add another hour or two onto their shifts transporting a body to a mortuary but said that the patient should always come first.
He said: “If you’ve had a busy day and you have been to a traumatic incident and just want to go home, I can see that but you absolutely have to think of the patients.”
“It’s a dignity thing and also the coroner insists on continuity, which means that somebody could have tampered with that body and that should never be allowed.”
The ambulance service declined to comment.