Probe concludes decision to embark on the plan which affected 20,000 patients was taken by boss of South East Coast Ambulance trust
Ambulances dispatched after people called the NHS 111 helpline were deliberately delayed under a secret policy authorised by a senior health service executive, a leaked report seen by The Daily Telegraph reveals.
Up to 20,000 patients were subject to deliberate delays under the covert operation, which forced high-risk cases in the South East to automatically wait up to twice as long if their call was referred from the helpline. An inquiry into the scandal, which was exposed by this newspaper in October, has concluded that the decision to embark on the plan was taken by the chief executive of South East Coast Ambulance trust.
The draft report says Paul Sutton ordered the changes despite direct pleas to him from senior managers raising concerns about the dangers of the scheme. The “forensic review” ordered by regulators, due to be published shortly, is one of three separate probes into the scandal. It details how the secret policy came to be introduced, without the knowledge of the trust’s board, without any risk assessment and in clear breach of NHS rules.
A separate inquiry, which will report later this year, is examining the extent of harm caused by the protocols to the thousands of patients affected. At least 11 deaths have been linked to the rogue protocols.
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