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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 18:57 GMT 19:57 UK
Ambulance delay to death crash Pc
Pc Joe Carroll
Pc Joe Carroll received a long service medal in 2005
An MP has called for urgent talks after it emerged a police officer who died in a car crash did not get help from the closest available ambulance.

Pc Joe Carroll, 46, died from head injuries on 13 April when his patrol car left the A69 in Northumberland.

An ambulance from nearby Hexham was not dispatched because the crew were on a meal break. A crew was sent from Prudhoe - 13 miles away.

Hexham MP Peter Atkinson says a row over meal break cover must be settled.

There is no suggestion Pc Carroll's life would have been saved if the Hexham crew had been dispatched.

But Mr Atkinson says the episode highlights the potential dangers to the public if the row is not settled quickly.

'Interim agreement'

Since June last year, North East Ambulance Service paramedics have received unpaid and undisturbed meal breaks.

But the result has been a number of incidents where crews nearest an emergency have not been contacted and crews have come from further away.

Unions were offered 1,500 to be on call during meal breaks, but this was initially rejected, although a spokesman for Unison said they would now accept the deal as an "interim" agreement.

But ambulance service bosses say they recruited 50 additional frontline staff after the offer was rejected to provide extra cover.

Mr Atkinson said: "If this issue is not resolved locally soon I shall have to persuade ministers to get involved."

Steven Graham, 39, a staff sergeant at Sandhurst Military Academy, has been charged with the manslaughter of Pc Carroll.

Ambulance pay row action halted
26 Jan 06 |  England

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