eeastPolice, ambulance and fire services in the East of England are overhauling their response to road accidents following the death of a veterinary nurse.

Although much of the criticism at the inquest into the death of Catherine Barton was directed at East of England Ambulance Service, coroner William Armstrong also wrote to the fire service and police outlining his concerns.

The inquest heard Ms Barton died almost two hours after a car crash as paramedics took 30 minutes to get to the scene near Thetford golf club in August 2011

Coroner Armstrong highlighted key faults in the Services response to the accident including not providing medical assistance fast enough, not assessing the bride-to-be’s injuries properly, not recognising her condition was deteriorating and not intervening to help her.

In response, EEAST chief executive Andrew Morgan wrote to Mr Armstrong and said: “The trust has undertaken a number of actions that are directly in response to this incident along with others that have an influence on the circumstances to mitigate the risk of a similar incident occurring. A number of these actions are complete or underway.”

The service has also reviewed its guidelines on how to respond to critical road accidents and how to best deal with the information they get from the scene from the fire and police service, who often arrive before paramedics.

The police, fire and ambulance service have also created a “memorandum of understanding” so the three agencies work better.

The agreement includes more training together, increased training for fire crews in first aid and improved communication between the different control rooms. It outlines what responsibilities each emergency service has at the scene and what each control room should be doing.

Mr Armstrong said the responses from the ambulance, police and fire services had been “detailed, positive and constructive”.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have launched a trauma care project which includes fire engines carrying spine boards, a new pager system and training for firefighters to allow some to carry out paramedic roles.

In its letter to Mr Armstrong, Norfolk Constabulary said it recognised that “collective learning from this tragedy needs to take place across the emergency services”.

The three emergency services will now meet every six weeks, in meetings arranged by the police to discuss how they can work better.

In the letter assistant chief constable Charlie Hall also said roads policing officers and its control room staff had been reminded of the command structure which is put in place when dealing with road accidents.

Posted 09/04/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com