Man who died in 'mould-infested’ Oldham home changed mind about A&E after ambulance wait

  • ITV Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith has the latest from Rochdale Coroner's Court

A man who died in a privately-rented house, which it’s claimed was infested with mould, changed his mind about going to hospital when he learned there was a six-and-a-half hour wait for an ambulance.

An inquest heard 27-year-old Luke Brooks, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was feared by his mother to have been "very poorly" when she rang the NHS 111 line operated by North West Ambulance Service.

Patricia Brooks felt he had a "viral or chest infection".

In a later call as his breathing worsened, Luke asked if he could go to the emergency department by himself but the service advised not to as chest pain is an exclusion to self transportation.

Having heard the wait would be six-and-half hours, Luke responded "I’ll leave it".

The coroner was told that he said he would go to his doctor's surgery the following day.

Luke Brooks

Luke died in October 2022 after developing an acute respiratory illness, his inquest heard.

Harriet Blower, who was responsible for reviewing the advice and care the helpline provided to Luke, gave evidence on the second day of the hearing at Rochdale Coroner's Court.

The inquest heard that the 111 service told Luke’s mother that he was assessed as needing a "Category 3" ambulance response.

She replied: "He doesn’t need an ambulance."

The service then asked if the family could take him to A&E.

Luke came on the phone saying he wasn’t well enough to do that.

The coroner asked Ms Blower why an ambulance wasn’t then requested anyway as Luke himself hadn’t refused one.

Ms Blower says she thinks it was "perhaps based" on the information his mother had previously given.

The coroner asked if there is any learning on the ambulance issue and Luke not being asked directly if he was refusing one.

Ms Blower said that "there is some learning about making sure we direct that question to the patient".

She described a Category 3 ambulance call-out as a "blue light" response.

111 advised that the response time, during the first call, was more than eight hours.

Luke Brooks

Pathologist Dr Abdul Ganjifrockwala carried out Luke’s post mortem examination and saw the rash Luke had developed in the days before his death.

It was "seen on the arms, thighs and in the groin area," he told the court.

Fungal spores were found in Luke’s lungs, the inquest heard.

The pathologist said the 27-year-old suffered an aspergillus-related bronchopneumonia, which he agreed had played a part in Luke’s death.

The inquest previously heard that Luke’s mother begged the council to help her family move from the house he shared with his parents, a friend and his cousin.

Ms Brooks said they had multiple problems ever since they moved there in 2014.

The inquest is being heard by the same coroner, Joanne Kearsley, who ruled last year that two-year-old Awaab Ishak died in Rochdale from a respiratory condition caused by mould at his home.