Ambulance chasing

Last night I met again with Jean Murphy and supporters. In July last year, Jean’s 15-year old daughter Kayleigh died following an epileptic fit. Jean called 999, and while Kayleigh was suffering, three different ambulances were dispatched. The first did not have a paramedic on board – only paramedics can administer the particular anti-convulsant drug Kayleigh needed; a second ambulance stopped to assist at a road traffic accident; the third had no paramedic either. By the time Kayleigh got to hospital it was too late; and this bright, bubbly, community-minded girl died.

Jean Murphy is a remarkable woman. She is determined that some good will come from Kayleigh’s death and her own unbearable loss. Jean is campaigning for all emergency ambulances to carry paramedics. She has my full support. Thousands of people have signed her petition. Now we need to keep up the profile of the campaign, and to keep pressure on the Government.

My fellow Lib Dem, Islington councillor Greg Foxsmith, has been supporting Jean in her campaign. Last night the Council’s Overview Committee received a report on the current performance of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the lessons learned from Kayleigh’s death.

To give credit where it’s due, the LAS is one of the best-performing Ambulance trusts in the country. I’ve met some of the ambulance crews; they are undoubtedly resourceful, brave and dedicated. And the service has introduced new policies since Kayleigh’s death – for example, better information on which crews are carrying paramedics – which may reduce the chance of similar tragedies in future. Another issue is whether non-paramedic ambulance crew should be allowed to administer the kind of powerful drugs which would have saved Kayleigh. The problem is that these drugs can have severe side-effects, so currently only the paramedics can treat patients with them. Which is why Jean is calling for all emergency ambulances to have a paramedic on board.

Responses are still coming in from my NHS survey, sent to thousands of residents across the Islington South & Finsbury constituency. One of the questions simply states: Some ambulances do not carry paramedics. Do you think all ambulance crews should include paramedics? Overwhelmingly, the answer is yes.

Islington residents back Jean’s campaign. The question is, will the Government?



  1. Valerie said

    Wow. I always assumed all emergency ambulances had paramedics. If the LAS is one of the best-performing ambulance trusts in the country, then that must be a very relative concept. I wouldn’t give any credit because none seems due. I’m sure the crews themselves are superb , but but if this is the way they’re administered, we need to demand better.

  2. Edis said

    I can remeber back to the 1950’s when ambulance drivers were just that -drivers- and not required even to have passed basic first aid training. Drivers got an extra half-crown a week if they got an optional first aid certificate. Only the second crew meber was required to have any treatment skills and this was well below modern paramedic standards.

    I think nowadays in many areas ambulances come in two flavours – emergency and non-emergency, with non-emergency ones engaged in such things as picking up people for routine scheduled visits .

    Good luck on raising the overall treatment skills standard here – and it will be interesting to see what bloggers from teh ambulance servises think of this, hope we can get some feedback here.

  3. Amie Murphy said

    My auntie is the women that died;( I’m disgusted at the fact the ambulance had no paramedics, if it did then my auntie could have had a chance and would be here now

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