Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 14:56 UK

Fatal ambulance delay 'justified'

Paramedics are told to wait for police help in dangerous situations

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) has defended its decision not to allow a paramedic to go to the aid of a dying teenager without police back-up.

Stuart Baillie, 19, bled to death after being stabbed in the neck in the East End of Glasgow in August 2007.

Colleagues of the paramedic sent to the scene told a newspaper that she begged controllers to allow her to assist.

But the SAS said the decision to wait 13 minutes for police help had been taken for the paramedic's own safety.

A spokesman said they had to consider the safety of staff in situations like the one last year, when Mr Baillie died in Easterhouse.

Difficult decisions have to be made, however those decisions must be made in the interest of our staff's wellbeing
Scottish Ambulance Service

He said: "A fast response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched.

"Due to the circumstances of the call there were genuine fears for the crews' safety and, for their own protection, they were both advised to wait nearby for police assistance.

"The safety of our staff is paramount and if there is reason to believe that ambulance crews are going into a situation where they may be at serious risk the procedure is to hold at scene and wait for police assistance.

"In serious emergencies this will mean that difficult decisions have to be made, however those decisions must be made in the interest of our staff's wellbeing, many of whom have been the victims of serious assault when treating patients."

He said the service worked closely with the police in such situations.

Last month, Ian Lowrie, 19, was jailed for 11 years after he admitted repeatedly stabbing Mr Baillie.

Lowrie was caught after a taxi driver overheard him boasting about the crime.

Man jailed after stabbing boast
14 Mar 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
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20 Apr 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
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