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Widow baffled by ambulance service failures

The widow of a man who died after a five hour ambulance delay says she can't understand why ambulance workers didn't take his meningitis symptoms more seriously.

I am extremely concerned about the treatment he received by the ambulance staff and I was baffled at the time that they didn’t seem to be taking into consideration his symptoms and the urgency of his situation.

I am still amazed now that the paramedics took such a long time to realise the red flag symptoms of meningitis that Mthuthuzeli was experiencing and it took them six hours to send an ambulance. It is incredibly well known that you have to act quickly if someone starts to suffer from symptoms of meningitis and his death could have been avoided if they had taken the care and attention to give him the medical care he rightly deserved.

– Lisa Armitage, widow

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Coroner criticises ambulance service over delays

A Coroner has ruled that ambulance service failures contributed to a man's death. 38-year-old Mthuthuzeli Mpongwana died from meningitis at the Bristol Royal Infirmary after waiting five hours for an ambulance. The Coroner said his death was from natural causes but it "was contributed to by a failure to take appropriate action in the face of an obvious need".

What to look out for if you suspect your baby has meningitis

The NHS advises that every suspected case of meningitis should be treated as a medical emergency.

Babies and young children under five are most at risk of developing bacterial meningitis. Its symptoms usually begin suddenly and get worse rapidly.

A baby or young child with meningitis may:

  • have a high fever, with cold hands and feet
  • vomit and refuse to feed
  • feel agitated and not want to be picked up
  • become drowsy, floppy and unresponsive
  • grunt or breathe rapidly
  • have an unusual high-pitched or moaning cry
  • have pale, blotchy skin, and a red rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • have a tense, bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle)
  • have a stiff neck and dislike bright lights
  • have convulsions or seizures

More information can be found here.

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NHS privatisation fears spark Bristol protest

The 100-metre-long petition has been signed by thousands of Bristolians. Credit: ITV News West Country

Balloons emblazoned with pro-NHS slogans and a 100-metre-long petition against privatisation have been part of a protest in Bristol today.

The 300 balloons carry the message 'Vote for a Public NHS'. Credit: ITV News West Country
Protestors march up Bristol's Park Street. Credit: ITV News West Country

The petition is addressed to the Clinical Commissioning Group because it was set up by the present government with the specific purpose of contracting out sections of local NHS services in such a way that profit making companies can run them as money-making concerns. It is this fracturing and marketization of our integrated national health service which local people are protesting about.

– Protect Our NHS, the campaign group that organised the event

5,000 people have signed the document demanding that Bristol's NHS stays out of the private sector, and a procession of protestors are delivering it by hand to the city's Clinical Commissioning Group.

The even has been organised by the Protect Our NHS campaign group Credit: ITV News West Country
Protestors with carry balloons with political slogans. Credit: ITV News West Country

Study reveals majority of asthma deaths preventable

Asthma costs the NHS a billion pounds a year. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

New figures have revealed that more than 350,000 people in the South West have asthma.

Today is World Asthma Day, and it's estimated the condition costs the NHS a billion pounds every year in treatment. This includes more than 3.7 million GP visits, and over 65,000 emergency admissions - three-quarters of which are preventable.

The first National Review of Asthma Deaths has found that two-thirds of asthma deaths could be prevented with better everyday care, and that half of patients have poor control of their condition - despite available treatments to help manage it.

Poorly controlled asthma means people take twice as many days off work as other asthma patients, and are more likely to need hospital treatment for attacks. The review recommends that those with the condition talk to their doctor if they have wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and/or shortness of breath.

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