A WOMAN was found dead in her living room ten hours after an NHS 111 call handler cancelled an ambulance when it was just one minute away from her home, an inquest heard today.
Tragic Ann Walters, 61, died after a nurse called off the emergency response team which had been heading to see her. A later investigation found Pete Richardson had ‘not demonstrated an understanding of heart failure’ when dealing with the call. At the hearing he confessed he made a mistake and apologised to the family. The inquest was told Mrs Walters called the NHS 111 service on December 28, 2014, asking for a doctor to be sent to her home.
Her breathlessness caused an initial call handler concern, so she was classed as an emergency. He was told by Mrs Walters – who at the time only had months to live – that she had a heart defect, and so dialled 999 himself for an ambulance to be sent to her home despite her asking to see a doctor instead. A crew was initially dispatched from Waterlooville to her home nearby in Portsmouth, but within four minutes a different ambulance was sent from Queen Alexandra Hospital in the city as it was nearer her home. However, in the meantime Mrs Walters was called at 8.24am by Pete Richardson, a qualified nurse and clinical support desk practitioner for the 111 service.
After talking with her, he took the decision to stand down the ambulance which was just one minute from her home.
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Mrs Walters (left) was found dead by her son Lawrence pictured here with his sister Felicity