Woman from Bath whose husband died waiting for ambulance says strikes are putting lives at risk

A woman from Bath whose husband died after a three-hour wait for an ambulance says she is worried the ongoing strike action is putting more people at risk.

Emma Mogg does not blame the paramedics who came to Garry's side, but says the government needs to resolve the ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

On 5 July 2022, Emma's husband Garry woke with chest pains. At 5:07am she called for an ambulance.

At 6:32am, no paramedics had arrived - so she phoned again. At 6:35am the call was categorised as Category 1 - for life-threatening injuries and illnesses, specifically cardiac arrest.

Emma said: "Garry had stood up and was leaning by the sink. And he just dropped, just went down."

Garry died on 5 July 2022 after waiting for an ambulance in Bath

On the phone again to the call handler, Emma explained that he had collapsed. She was advised to roll Garry onto his back and start CPR.

"I was doing CPR for 10 minutes before the ambulance finally arrived," Emma said.

Two ambulances from Keynsham were dispatched and another from Royal United Hospital, which had become free.

But it was too late, Garry was pronounced dead at 7:47am.

Yesterday (20 February), paramedics and call handlers from GMB and UNITE unions took strike action again as members rejected the government's latest pay rise offer of 4 per cent.

Emma does not blame the crews that came to help her husband that day.

She acknowledges the immense pressures South Western Ambulance crew were and continue to be under.

She said she thinks the government must do more to help: "I do have sympathy in one regard, they don't get brilliantly paid and there is a really bad cost of living crisis at the moment.

"But there should not be cases of people dying because there are no ambulances."

In response to Emma's experience, a spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry that we were unable to provide a timely response to Mr Mogg and we would again like to offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

"Our ambulance clinicians strive every day to give their best to patients, but our performance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to handover delays at emergency departments.

“Health and social care services are under enormous pressure. We are working with our partners in the NHS and social care, to do all we can to improve the service that patients receive."

Government ministers say tackling the NHS crisis is a priority - specifically moving patients out of hospital more quickly which in turn, will speed up ambulance handovers.

But for Emma, it is too little too late as she mourns the loss of her husband and father of their children.