Ambulance delay added to distress after home birth complications

Ms W gave birth at home and later that day she bled heavily. The visiting midwife called 999 – one hour and 16 minutes after the midwife had made the initial call, the ambulance arrived.

The ambulance crew did not appear to know the route to the hospital. Ms W was eventually taken to hospital where she immediately had surgery, which was successful.

Ms W complained about the time it took for an ambulance to arrive, even though the seriousness of the situation was made clear in the 999 calls. Ms W was also concerned that the ambulance crew did not know where the hospital was.

The Trust carried out its own robust investigation to identify the reason for the delay and produced a root cause analysis report. The report also recommended that the clinical co–ordinator revise his approach to dealing with this type of call. In future he will either talk to the healthcare professional sooner or immediately upgrade the priority level of the call. The trust also apologised to Ms W and later agreed to pay her £350, the sum we identified as reasonable during our investigation.

Although we recognised there had been failings, we did not uphold this complaint as we found the Trust had taken reasonable steps to put things right.