Eastbourne pensioner died after waiting for an ambulance for hours

An 87-year-old Eastbourne man died after waiting for more than three hours for an ambulance, an inquest has heard.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 1:52 pm

A coroner found Maurice Goodwin, of Wannock Road, died from natural causes contributed to by neglect at the inquest in Hastings – which linked late ambulances to three deaths in East Sussex in 2017.

His wife of 64 years Barbara said, “I wish more than anything he hadn’t had to die like this.”

The great-grandfather died on August 31, 2017, after his wife found his trousers were soaked in blood from his catheter.


But she was told an ambulance would not be coming and Mr Goodwin was referred to the community team.

District nurses eventually arrived but by then he was pronounced dead.

Mrs Goodwin said, “There is no doubt in our minds his pain and distress was a contributing factor to his death.”

The same inquest heard 90-year-old Daisy Filby, from Seaford, was ‘failed’ by a system under huge pressure to be as efficient as possible, according to senior coroner Alan Craze.

Mrs Filby’s disabled daughter Linda called 999 after her mother suffered a fall and was unable to move. The pair waited an hour and 45 minutes before help arrived, with Linda calling 999 four times, but Mrs Filby died at the scene.

Mr Craze said, “The problem ultimately is systemic and the heart of it is the call-taking and decision-making system.”

He said the system used by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) ‘failed Mrs Filby and her daughter’.

Meanwhile a 999 call for 84-year-old Anthony Harding, of Wivelsfield, was triaged as a ‘minor medical issue’ after he suffered a fall in August 2017.

Medics did not arrive for more than an hour ‘because of a shortage of resources’. He later died.

Mr Craze said the problem was the call-answering service, which he called ‘not fit for purpose’.

SECAmb said, “Our thoughts are with the families and everyone affected and we are very sorry for the service they received.

“We have listened very closely to the coroner and are committed to making further improvements where necessary.

“Since these incidents took place in 2017, it is important to note a significant amount of work has taken place to improve our service.

“We are continuing to work hard so that we are best placed to respond to patients across our region and we remain committed to further improvement.”