Sunday, January 07, 2007

British Man Dies After Two Ambulance Crews Were Forbidden From Responding To His Call Because They Were On E.U. Enforced Lunch Breaks.

A man died after two ambulance crews could not be sent to his aid — because they were on European Union enforced lunch breaks. The victim collapsed in a betting shop, five minutes from his local ambulance station. But under the barmy European Working Time Directive, exposed by reporters last month, crews couldn’t be disturbed. A paramedic was sent in a car and realised the unnamed man was having a heart attack. He dialled 999 but an ambulance did not arrive for half an hour.By then, the patient had died on the floor in Edmonton, North London. Last night London Ambulance Service chiefs ordered a full probe. The European Union rules — which have angered staff — mean crews in the capital can be called out only in the last ten minutes of their 30-minute breaks. Otherwise, they are banned from helping, even if there is a road crash outside their building. Other UK ambulance services have chosen to opt out of the rules. A London spokesperson said last night: “We can confirm crews were on a rest break at the time. “Our sympathies are with the patient’s family.”