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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 11:29 GMT
Patient dies after ambulance wait
Ambulance
The ambulance service said the call came at a busy time
An investigation has been launched after an ambulance took 22 minutes to reach a dying pensioner.

Ernie Rutkiewicz, 82, from Glasgow, choked on his dinner last Thursday and died in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said the average response time for a life threatening condition - such as choking - should be eight minutes.

The crew which attended could not be assigned to the emergency any earlier as they were on a meal break.

Under rules, ambulance crews are entitled to a half-hour break during their shift and cannot be disturbed during that period.

The meal break rule was introduced in Scotland as part of a UK-wide initiative called Agenda for Change, which affects NHS pay and conditions.

An ambulance service spokesman said: "At the time of the call to attend to Mr Rutkiewicz there was an unusually high number of 999 calls and all available nearby resources were dealing with other emergencies.

"The fastest available response at this busy time was from a crew that became available after their meal break.

"Ambulance crews in Glasgow are amongst the busiest in the UK."

SEE ALSO
More patients face ambulance wait
09 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Concern over ambulance responses
31 Jan 07 |  South of Scotland
Urgent call for more paramedics
23 Jan 07 |  Scotland

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