Hillsborough disaster: Yorkshire Ambulance Service bosses accept criticism

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THE head of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service apologised for failures at Hillsborough - after it was revealed for the first time that paramedics’ witness statements were altered, and they were slow to respond while fans were being crushed.

Chief Executive David Whiting said: “I sincerely apologise for the shortcomings identified in the report relating to the way in which the incident was managed in the early stages.

“Twenty-three years on from the tragedy the ambulance service is very different, and events such as this have shaped the way in which the emergency services plan and respond to major incidents today.”

The Independent Panel’s report said rescue attempts by the ambulance service were delayed and hampered by ‘failures of leadership and co-ordination’.

Documents seen by the panel also showed statements were altered by the-then South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service and its solicitors.

“While there is variation in the amendments, in a number of cases they deflected criticisms and emphasised the efficiency of the response,” the report said.

Mr Whiting said: “We have co-operated fully with the panel and given them unrestricted access to archive material. The trust remains committed to openness and we welcome and fully accept the findings highlighted within the report.

“I would like to extend my sympathy to the bereaved families of the 96 supporters who lost their lives. I understand this will be a very difficult time for the many people who remain affected by the tragedy, including a number of our current and former staff.”