Hartlepool MP calls for more ambulances after ‘simply unacceptable’ death of town pensioner

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

HARTLEPOOL’S MP Iain Wright has written to a Government minister demanding more ambulances following the shocking death of a town pensioner.

William Gouldburn died after lying on his bathroom floor for two hours waiting for an ambulance despite seven desperate 999 calls by his family.

William Gouldburn

William Gouldburn

Today, Mr Wright branded the pensioner’s death as “simply unacceptable” and as well as writing to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the matter he enclosed a copy of the Hartlepool Mail’s initial article.

He also pledged to raise the tragedy in the House of Commons.

Mr Wright said: “This is a tragic case.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with the family of Mr Gouldburn.

“It is simply unacceptable in this day and age that a man had to lie on the floor of his bathroom for almost two hours while waiting for an ambulance.

“A manager of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has confirmed at Mr Gouldburn’s inquest that they do not have the resources to meet demand and that had more ambulances been available, the outcome might have been different.

“That must have been incredibly distressing for Mr Gouldburn’s family to hear at the inquest.

“I have today written to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, on this matter, enclosing with my letter the Hartlepool Mail report on this case, and I intend to raise it in Parliament.

“In my letter, I have asked Mr Hunt to respond to the points made by the management of the ambulance trust and ensure that more ambulances are available both in Hartlepool and the wider North-East to cope with all peaks in demand.”

Labour’s Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary and MP for Leigh in the North West, has also written to Mr Hunt to express his concerns over the situation after hearing about Mr Gouldburn’s case and has included figures in his correspondence highlighting delays in 999 calls made across the UK.

Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly branded the death of Mr Gouldburn, 73, of Meadows Walk, as a “sad consequence” of a lack of ambulance resources and said his life might have been saved if an ambulance had reached him sooner.

But despite numerous calls by his frantic family for an ambulance, on April 21 last year, one did not reach him until he had gone into cardiac arrest.

Ambulance bosses admitted at the inquest into the death of the retired special needs teacher that it does not have enough resources to meet demand.

After a two-day inquest at Hartlepool Coroner’s Court, Mr Donnelly ruled that Mr Gouldburn died of natural causes as he had an underlying heart disease.

But Mr Donnelly said his death was aggravated by a “lack of timely and appropriate medical intervention”.

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