Ambulance with patient inside stolen from outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds

The report found poor leadership had created a culture of 'bullying and abuse'.
The East of England Ambulance Service said the patient and crew member were unharmed.

An ambulance was stolen from outside a busy hospital - with a patient and paramedic still inside.

Alarms were raised on Tuesday night after the theft at the West Suffolk Hospital, and police managed to stop the stolen vehicle a mile down the road.

A patient was being treated by a medic inside the ambulance when the incident happened.

Police stopped the vehicle in Bury St Edmunds and the 51-year-old driver was arrested. He remains in custody.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said the ambulance had been brought to a safe stop by officers.

It is understood the paramedic and patient were taken back to the hospital where staff were waiting to help them.

The spokesman said: ”A 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop and [failing to] provide a breath test. He was taken to Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre for questioning, where he remains."

There have been suggestions that the ignition keys may have been accidentally left inside the ambulance while a crew member tended to the patient.

Queues of ambulances outside the region's hospitals have become a common occurrence, with patients often facing delays before being transferred because of a lack of beds, meaning that in many cases initial assessment and treatment have been carried out in the back of the emergency vehicles.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust said: “We can confirm that our crew member and the patient they were transporting were unharmed following an incident which took place at West Suffolk Hospital.

"We are supporting the staff who were involved, and will be contacting the patient’s family.

“We are liaising fully with the police regarding the incident and are unable to comment further while their investigation is ongoing.”

West Suffolk Hospital declined to comment on the incident. 

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know