'Disgusting': Man whose mum died waiting for ambulance has 'no hope for change' in NHS

Akshay Patel told ITV News he had hoped for more change to be announced, reports ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

A son whose mother died while waiting almost an hour for an ambulance after making seven 999 calls has told ITV News he is "disgusted" by Boris Johnson's response to his mother's case but has "no hope for change" in the NHS.

Akshay Patel was woken in the middle of the night by his mum, Bina, who was struggling to breathe at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside on October 11.

He desperately tried to keep his 56-year-old mother - who had diabetes but no other long-term health conditions - alive while he repeatedly called for an ambulance as her condition deteriorated and she screamed: "I'm dying, hurry up."

But by the time paramedics finally arrived at their home almost an hour later, the mother-of-two had no pulse.

Mr Patel, who believes his mother's death could have been avoided, later received an apology from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), which said: "In this case, we can never say sorry enough. The amount of time it took for help to arrive is unacceptable.

"The exceptional demand we have faced has regularly seen resources over-stretched.

"While we understand it will be of little comfort to her family, we want to make clear no human error led to the delay faced by Mrs Patel."NWAS also sent a report to Mr Patel, explaining that whilst they did have sufficient resources on the night, high demand meant they could not deliver the services they should have been able to.

Bina Patel, 56, awoke in the night struggling to breathe. Credit: Akshay Patel

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer raised Ms Patel's devastating case with the prime minister in the Commons on Wednesday, saying she and her son "deserved better than a wanting and inadequate government utterly unable to improve our NHS".

"I think everybody in the House has sympathy with Akshay," Mr Johnson replied, before moving on, leaving Mr Patel to say he felt his mother's death had been "brushed off."

Boris Johnson responds to Bina's death

"I was quite disgusted," Mr Patel said of Mr Johnson's response.

"I was hoping that our prime minister would have said something that I would want to hear, some sort of change," he said.

He added the lack of commitment to bring down ambulance wait times was "another let down".

"I feel like every time I try and push I'm getting failed by the government."

Bina pictured with her two sons. Credit: Akshay Patel

"There's no hope at all," he said, adding he also felt "failed by the NHS".

Mr Patel went on to say, "a lot of people in this country probably feel same as me, that help is now taking hours or it's taking weeks or it's even taking months and years."

If waiting times are not addressed, he said he believed, "more and more people will sadly pass away".

'There's no hope' for change, Akshay says

The PM's words for Mr Patel came after a damning report found discrimination and bullying “has almost become normalised” in parts of the NHS.

It resulted in a pledge from Sajid Javid to bring healthcare leadership "into the 21st century," as the health secretary called for "culture change from the top of the system to the front line."

The report, headed by senior former military officer General Sir Gordon Messenger and commissioned by the government, concluded there was an “institutional inadequacy” in the way leadership and management in the sector was trained, developed and valued.

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In his study, Sir Gordon said staff were under “very public external and internal pressures” which “combine to generate stress in the workplace."

NHS staff and managers face “constant demands from above, including from politicians” which creates an instinct to “look upwards to furnish the needs of the hierarchy rather than downwards to the needs” of patients and those using social care services, he said.

“These pressures inevitably have an impact on behaviours in the workplace, and we have encountered too many reports to ignore of poor behavioural cultures and incidences of discrimination, bullying, blame cultures and responsibility avoidance," the report added.

Sir Gordon said such behaviours must not be tolerated as “they directly affect the care of the service user as well as the staff."

He said the NHS was under such pressure that often there was an “instinct to prioritise the needs of the system and its hierarchy over a focus on the better patient and public health outcomes."

This also feeds “a sense of futility and helplessness in the workforce because individuals perceive they lack the tools or ability to rectify what they know is wrong".

The report's recommendations, which have been accepted in full by Mr Javid, include:

  • action to improve equality, diversity and inclusion

  • clear routes to progression and promotion

  • the development of consistent management standards through accredited training

  • encouraging the best leaders and managers to take on the most difficult roles, so they are seen as "the best jobs rather than the most feared jobs"