Ambulance near to dying pub woman 'on break'

Melissa Procter-Blain
Image caption Melissa Procter-Blain died of a blood clot

An ambulance was not called to help a dying woman because the crew still had two minutes of a meal break left, an inquest has been told.

Mother of three Melissa Procter-Blain, 32, was taken ill at The Crown Inn in Spondon, Derbyshire, in July 2009.

The inquest in Derby was told it was policy ambulance crews' breaks could be interrupted only for a major incident.

Instead a lone female paramedic was sent - but was told not to enter the rowdy bar until more help arrived.

Ms Procter-Blain was in a wheelchair after injuring her knee in a fall at the same pub some weeks previously.

She was out with her mother and some friends when she began to have difficulty breathing and a 999 call was made.

Response times

Earlier the inquest had heard claims the paramedic had refused to enter the pub and treat Ms Procter-Blain due to the intimidating atmosphere.

But the paramedic - who cannot be named for legal reasons - disputed this, saying she had been told not to go inside by the control room, but decided to go in anyway.

East Midlands Ambulance Service staff confirmed there was an ambulance a short distance away but its crew had not finished its 45-minute break and could not be called despite Ms Procter-Blain's critical condition.

Ben Holdaway, at the time a control room manager, was asked by coroner Dr Robert Hunter: "What is the logic of sending a skilled paramedic to a life-threatening incident and just asking her to park up?

"I suggest this is more about meeting response times than benefiting the patient."

Mr Holdaway said: "The policy is to send the nearest resource, in this case this was the paramedic.

"In the majority of cases this is effective and the paramedic should assess the situation and the risk at the scene."

Ms Procter-Blain died of a blood clot on her lung shortly afterwards.

The inquest continues.

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