Coroner rules that changes must be made to the Welsh Ambulance Service to protect life in remote areas

Friday 15 January 2016

After a six-day inquest into the death of six-year-old Jasmine Lapsley - who died after choking on a grape - HM Deputy Coroner for North West Wales concluded that changes must be made to improve the provision of emergency care provided by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) in rural North Wales. Jasmine's family was represented by Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers during the inquest into her death.

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The inquest heard how it took WAST 22 minutes to arrive at the scene following a ‘Code Red one’ call which was made when Jasmine choked and became unconscious (the Welsh Assembly target is set at eight minutes). The inquest looked generally at poor ambulance response times to Code Red calls in Gwynedd over a four-year period and systems for emergency care in rural areas. This included the adequacy of community first responders and night cover provided by the Royal Air Force. HM Coroner made a number of Prevent Future Death Recommendations, including covering the need to strengthen emergency night flights with paramedics, strengthening community first responder schemes, and improving modelling for resource allocation during summer months. The inquest also identified a number of failures in the care given to Jasmine.

The inquest has been reported widely in the press, including by the BBC, Cambrian News and the Daily Post North Wales.

Jasmine Lapsley’s family was represented by Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers’ Inquests Team and Chris Topping, Matthew Bown and Jenny Fraser of Jackson Canter Solicitors.

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