Ambulance service failed vulnerable Sheffield man

Anthony Offord who died aged 35.
Anthony Offord who died aged 35.
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Ambulance staff from an ‘under resourced’ service failed to respond to a 999 call in time to save a vulnerable man who collapsed, an inquest heard.

Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries said it was ‘more likely than not’ that 35-year-old Anthony Offord ‘would have survived’ if he’d been given prompt treatment.

An inquest into his death heard one ambulance crew which passed nearby was on a meal break, and a lone paramedic stood waiting outside before help finally arrived.

Two other ambulances in the vicinity could have been diverted from less serious jobs, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service operators failed to seek help from the police.

Mr Offord, who was described as ‘very vulnerable’ and had mental health problems, lived in supported accommodation and collapsed within minutes of arriving at a friend’s flat in Harcourt Road, Crookesmoor, last April 16.

His friend rang 999 at 11.01pm but the ambulance didn’t arrive until 11.23pm.

Checks revealed a lone responder in a rapid response vehicle and a double-crewed ambulance could both have arrived at 11.15pm if they had been diverted from less urgent calls.

A third double-crewed ambulance was clear at 11pm at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital but staff were told to take a meal break.

Mr Offord had been drinking as well as taking prescribed medication. He had also taken a small amount of heroin just before arriving at the flat.

He died two days later, from hypoxic brain injury due to mixed drug toxicity.

After the hearing Mr Offord’s brother John said: “Every citizen has the right to receive medical attention and on this date the state let Anthony down.

“It is a lasting sadness that we lost Anthony and that he could have been saved if the ambulance had turned up earlier.”

Mr Dorries is writing to the Health Secretary, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and NHS England about the case.