Asthma teen died after NHS computer said no emergency

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That led the 999 computer to downgrade Martin from urgent “category one” to “category two”. An inquest heard his father instead drove him to hospital but the youngster passed away two hours later in Tameside Hospital, Greater Manchester. The North West Ambulance Service later said a crew had been “tied up” on another job.

The Stockport hearing was told the Year 11 pupil and talented musician from Ashtonunder-Lyne woke dad Roy around 6am on November 24, 2019, struggling to breathe.

He told the inquest: “He took puffs on his inhaler but that didn’t help and [at] 6.10am I called an ambulance.”

Roy called back after Martin’s condition worsened.

He said: “The operator again said an ambulance was on its way but 20 minutes and it did not arrive. I put Martin in my car at 6.50am and was shocked on the way to see there were two ambulances parked in front of the depot.”

The teenager was pronounced dead at 8.23am.

Roy said: “Later that evening, two paramedics told me they were 16 miles away.

“Had Martin been assessed as a category one, I wonder if he would have got the treatment he needed?

“There needs to be a change in the way that category two cases are categorised.”

Martin’s sister Rebecca said their mum still washes his clothes and cooks meals for him, hoping he will come home one day.

She said: “He would have made a fantastic MP, with the courage and conviction to do the right things.”

Daniel Smith, of NWAS, said “a computer algorithm” determines call categories based on call answers.

He said on that day they had “turnaround delays” and the two ambulances passed by Mr Sullivan at a depot may have been off-duty.

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