North East Ambulance Service review disappoints families

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A MOTHER, misled over the death of her daughter, and a whistleblower, who exposed alleged cover-ups by paramedics, believe the NHS inquiry announced by the Government will be a ‘whitewash’.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said there would be ‘full independent review’ into recent accusations of ‘tragic failings’ within North East Ambulance Service.

Coroners’ officer Paul Calvert claims he is aware of around 90 cases over a two-year period in which crews have covered up medical errors where patients have died and an inquest was being held.

Families of patients were disappointed to learn the public inquiry they are calling for will instead be a ‘review’ carried out by NHS England.

Tracey Beadle. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

Tracey Beadle, from Shildon, lost her 17-year-old daughter, Quinn, to suicide three-and-a-half years ago.

Crucial information from her final moments was withheld by the paramedic who treated her, including the reading from a monitor showing heart activity.

Mrs Beadle said: “This review is the NHS looking into the NHS. It is not at all what we wanted.

“It is like a schoolchild marking their own homework.

“We want a proper public inquiry where people have to answer questions.”

It emerged North East Ambulance Service changed a statement given at Quinn’s first inquest in April 2019, removing references to mistakes, such as failing to clear her airways, and adding claims that life support would ‘not have had a positive outcome’.

The Northern Echo: Quinn BeadleQuinn Beadle

Mrs Beadle said: “We do not have faith that NHS England will give us what we want which is openness and transparency so we know what has gone wrong and that it will never happen again.”

The family of Peter Coates, from Dormanstown near Redcar, who had lung disease and used a machine for oxygen, also feel let down by the review.

The 62-year-old died waiting for an ambulance in 2019 when the oxygen machine failed during a power cut.

His daughter, Kellie Coates, said she was ‘shocked’ at how much information had been withheld by NEAS.

Mr Calvert, from Peterlee, alleges he was offered £41,000 to keep silent about cases where the service withheld details from coroners between 2018 and 2019.

He said: “It is not independent because it is the NHS investigating the NHS.

“No-one is compelled to give evidence.

“I actually reported my concerns to NHS England last July. I went to their complaints and disclosure team. I communicated with them for two months.

“They said they were not going to do anything further with it.”

The Northern Echo: Paul Calvert. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO Paul Calvert. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

The 48-year-old former police officer, who believes he is facing the sack from North East Ambulance Service, said he has been ‘bullied, harassed and blackmailed’ over the last three years.

He said: “It just seems like Operation Appeasement to appease the public.

“It is not going to get to the bottom of what has gone on. It is another cover up. “It is a way of making it go away.

“In no other walk of life would someone accused of doing something wrong be allowed to investigate themselves.”

The service said it would welcome ‘independent scrutiny’ but that their thoughts remain with those affected.

NHS England referred the Northern Echo to Department for Health and Social Care when asked for a comment about concerns over impartiality.

The DHSC sent a copy of the statement Mr Javid made about the review on Twitter on Monday evening.

In it, he said: “Patient safety is a top priority and I am deeply concerned over the tragic failings of the North East Ambulance Service.

“The NHS will launch a full independent review into this issue to establish exactly what happened and ensure these events do not happen again.”

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