EEAST paramedic 'near end of shift' not sent to boy's fatal crash in Leighton Buzzard street

Lucas Pollard, 14, died in a motorbike crash in Leighton Buzzard.
Credit: Bedfordshire Police
Lucas Pollard was described by his mother as a "loving, kind, caring boy". Credit: Bedfordshire Police

A rapid response paramedic based three minutes away from the road where a 14-year-old boy lay dying was not sent to the crash out because of a controversial “end of shift policy", an inquest heard.

Lucas Pollard and a 15-year-old boy who had been riding as his pillion passenger on an electric dirt bike had to wait a further 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived at the crash in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

The teenager's family discovered at the inquest on Thursday that an East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) vehicle was based in the town.

Coroner Dr Sean Cummings said he found it "extraordinary" that the vehicle was just three minutes away.

He said he would issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report over the rigid application of the end of shift policy and communication gaps between the ambulance trust’s critical care desk and ambulance dispatchers.

He said he was surprised that the information had not been included in a report prepared by EEAST for the hearing, adding: ”I am not immediately accepting there was not a deliberate attempt to mislead the court.”

Tributes were left to Lucas Pollard in the days after his death. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The inquest heard Lucas, of Leighton Buzzard, had been been given the electric Sur-Ron dirt bike the day before after his mother Marie had won it in a raffle.

He was riding that bike at 1am on 1 June with the 15-year-old friend riding pillion. 

The bike went at speed down Old Road in Linslade before wobbling at a mini roundabout and crashing, the inquest heard. Lucas hit a street sign and suffered multiple injuries.

A neighbour heard the crash and dialled 999 at 1.33am.

David Grover, of EEAST, who compiled the report for the coroner, said the ambulance trust’s end of shift policy had been introduced for staff well-being.

It meant staff would only be called out in the last 30 minutes of their shift in particular circumstances, such as cardiac arrest or maternity.

The ambulance which attended had been sent from Luton, and arrived at 1.51am, 18 minutes after being called.

Lucas arrived at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital at 2.37am and was pronounced dead at 3.11am.

Tributes were also left on a Facebook page called Lucas Pollard - Forever 14. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Dr David Kirby said the youngster had suffered so many severe unsurvivable injuries that he would most likely have died even if the crash had happened outside the hospital. 

The inquest was told he had suffered massive damage to his chest, lung, liver, spleen and pelvic area as well as internal bleeding.

“Even if he had been with us earlier it might have made a difference, but I still don’t think it would have prevented his death," he said.

The coroner said Lucas’s injuries were so catastrophic he would not have survived, and reached a conclusion that the teenager died following a road traffic collision.

Following the hearing, Lucas's father Lee said: “It was a total shock to hear today that the rapid response vehicle was in the town.

"The report by the ambulance did not mention where it was. They should have said it was three minutes away. The coroner was as shocked as we were.

"We are pleased the coroner has taken it on board. He is going to push for change and maybe their policy can be rewritten.”

Lucas’s sister Chloe, 25,  said: “I understand why they have the [end of shift] policy, but when they knew the seriousness of the case and that they potentially were going to need an air ambulance they should. If the rapid response had gone there the assessment  of what was needed could have taken place earlier.”

She added: “Lucas was so young and full of life and taken away from us so quickly and so soon.

"She said he always had so much time from his friends and family and had the most contagious laugh and smile.

"She described him as always and caring, kind and thoughtful as well as cheeky.”

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