Sleeping GP 'missed' 89-year-old mum dying - investigations launched

The son of an 89-year-old woman who died claims he waited three hours for an ambulance Credit: PA

A woman died after a doctor was found "asleep" in his car outside of her house, it has been claimed.

An investigation has been launched into Gloucestershire man Keith Smith's claims he found a GP "getting some shut eye" in his car outside his 89-year-old mother's home. She later died.

Mr Smith, from Bishop's Cleeve, called the NHS 111 line after his mother Olive complained of stomach pains and delirium on July 11.

He claims he faced numerous delays in trying to get the right care for his mother.

Mr Smith says he was told an out-of-hours GP would triage his mother in around an hour, but claims a clinician did not arrive for 12 hours.

Mr Smith also claims an ambulance - which was meant to arrive within 18 minutes - took more than three hours to get to their address.

He said when the out-of-hours GP left his mother's house to call South Western Ambulance Service, Mr Smith then found the clinician getting some "shut eye" in his car.

By the time the doctor returned to the house, Mr Smith says his mother had stopped breathing and required CPR.

He said he was unaware that his mother was dying in front of him. “I think it’s totally irresponsible,” Mr Smith said.

'He missed his patient dying'

“I believe that the GP had no reason to leave the house. He could have carried on making those calls from the settee or he could have sent his driver out to handle the calls in the car,” he said.

“He had taken his assistant out with him. The car seats were moved to full horizontal and his eyes were tightly shut.

“I feel that there was no need for the GP to exit the house at all. He could have sent his assistant out to the car alone to handle call duties and alert him. He missed his patient dying.”

NHS investigations launched

Mr Smith has made a formal complaint and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group says an investigation is ongoing.

“We are very sorry to hear of this case and our heartfelt condolences go to the gentleman and his family at what remains a very difficult time,” a spokesperson for the CCG said.

“The specific circumstances are subject to ongoing investigations and therefore it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage.

“We expect the highest standards of service for our patients and will continue to work closely with the provider to support timely and high-quality care for the people of Gloucestershire.”

A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) spokesperson said they too are conducting an investigation into Mrs Smith’s case.

“We would like to express our condolences to Mrs Smith’s family following her passing in July.

“We are conducting an investigation into Mrs Smith’s case with the involvement of her family, and cannot comment further until the process has concluded.”

Credit: Carmelo Garcia, Local Democracy Reporter