"Ambulance for my daughter was misdirected"

About: Emergency ambulance service (Wiltshire)

(as a relative),

My daughter was suffering from extreme upper back pain and was taken by myself to the doctor's surgery. The doctor called for an ambulance as an emergency suspecting a possible perforated bowel.

My daughter was by this stage having difficulty breathing and the nurse waiting with us in the treatment room became concerned enough that she chased up the ambulance (20 minutes had passed). After a confused conversation whereby the call centre appeared not to have the call, she established that the ambulance crew had in fact been sent to Chippenham Hospital. It was a total of approx 40 minutes before the ambulance arrived.

I know that if a doctor is in attendance with a patient the ambulance is not sent as a Category A call, but my concern is the fact that the doctor cannot actually do anything (for example give oxygen or gas and air) In fact my daughter had a pulmonary embolism and so the delay in the ambulance could have had a tragic result. But the question has to be asked why the ambulance was heading for Chippenham.

Also, please do not delay an ambulance if the doctor is there.

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Response from Patrick Mulcahy, Head of Clinical Development, Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to feedback your experience of our service. I am sorry that on this occasion it did not meet your needs or the standard that we set ourselves.

As you highlight, we always endeavour to respond to Category A calls within the designated 8 minute requirement, and during the initial conversation with the GP our call handler should verify the exact address where we need to send an ambulance.

It would seem that on this occasion there was a problem with how we processed your call, and I would like to look into this further to see what we can learn from this incident. In order to do this I would need some further details about the incident. If you are willing to provide this would you call 01249 858 500 and ask for the Complaints Department, or email complaints@gwas.nhs.uk who will then be able to look into matters further.

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