An emergency call taker has had extra supervision after “pretty poor” service when a Pode Hole man had a cardiac arrest, an inquest has been told.
The hearing, in Lincoln, was told Michal Jagodzki was taken ill at home on November 16, 2019.
After being told an ambulance could take an hour by a 111 call handler, his family and a friend drove him to the Johnson Hospital in Spalding for help.
The minor injuries unit did not have a doctor on site and an ambulance was called again using 999 and via an Emergency Medical Despatcher (EMD) based in Nottingham.
Mr Jagodzki died at the Johnson Hospital as a result of a cardiac arrest and his family had been concerned about the lack of ambulance availability.
Coroner Paul Cooper said there weren’t enough ambulances for all the calls.
“I have done many cases like this and families think there is a bank of ambulances waiting for a call at any time.
“The reality is there are not enough ambulances to go round and this is shown in this particular case,” he said.
Recording natural causes as the cause of death after a post mortem showed heart disease, Mr Cooper said the EMD on the phone to the family friend and a nurse with Mr Jagodzki “did not show any empathy or any understanding of the Polish language difficulty.”
A representative of the East Midlands Ambulance Service said she had listened to the call from the hospital and concluded the EMD’s “customer service was pretty poor.”
Susan Jevons, senior quality manager at EMAS, told the hearing: “He was told to listen to the call and admits his customer service was pretty poor and his calls were audited to see if his calls have improved. He was not sympathetic and it was not what I would expect from someone trained to deal with difficult calls,” she said.
The best number for emergency care is 999, she told the hearing, adding 111 was for ‘urgent’ care.
Mr Jagodzki’s daughter told the hearing that when he collapsed, a friend called 111 and the call handler put Mr Jagodzki on a Category Two response – telling the friend it could be an hour before an ambulance could get to them.
The friend took him and his wife to the Johnson Hospital but were told there that there was no doctor on site.
The friend made a 999 call and a nurse took it over in a bid to get assistance for Mr Jagodzki, whose condition had worsened.
He became a Category One patient and ambulance resources diverted to the Johnson to help him.
A volunteer paramedic arrived within 14 minutes, followed by a double-crew ambulance, a doctor, paramedic and the crew from an air ambulance by car.
Mr Jagodzki was certified dead at 3.35pm, around two hours after the first call to 111 when there were no ambulances available.
Mr Cooper said the 111 call handler had been right to put Mr Jagodzki in Catergory Two initially as he was conscious and responsive. But he added that the family had done the ‘right thing’ in taking him to the Johnson Hospital for help and said he would have done the same.