Harry Dunn’s family meet Health Secretary over ambulance response times

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The family of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn have outlined their concerns about ambulance response times to the Health Secretary,  after it took paramedics more than 40 minutes to reach him.

The 19-year-old’s stepfather Bruce Charles, and his stepbrother Ciaran, had a “brief” 11-minute meeting with Matt Hancock on Wednesday to talk about issues which they believe led to the delay.

Harry Dunn was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

The suspect in the case, 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, was granted diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

Speaking outside the Department for Health and Social Care, family spokesman Radd Seiger said their meeting with Mr Hancock was “very brief” as “he is clearly under an awful lot of pressure”.

He told the PA news agency: “There are two things we discussed, the most important of which is, we need to find a long-term funding solution to social care in the community.

Harry Dunn death
Ciaran Charles (left) and Bruce Charles, the stepbrother and stepfather of Harry Dunn (Aaron Chown/PA)

“Because one of the main reasons why the ambulance was late to Harry that night was bed-blocking, and the ambulances stack up in the car parks and there wasn’t an ambulance anywhere near Harry that night.

“The second issue is using the NHS appropriately, because if people are using 999 and sending ambulances to places where they shouldn’t be, what happens is people like Harry end up where he was with no ambulance nearby.”

Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, could not attend the meeting as she has asthma, Mr Seiger said, adding that the family would now work with the NHS to further highlight the issues raised during the meeting.

“It was a very brief meeting,” Mr Seiger said. “He acknowledged those concerns, but he committed to reconvene at some point when things calm down a bit.”

The Health Secretary told the family that it was the only meeting he had not cancelled that day due to the coronavirus crisis, Mr Dunn’s 31-year-old stepbrother said.

The family has already met the chief executive of East Midlands Ambulance Service and the chief executive of Nene Clinical Commissioning Group about the issue of delays.

Mr Seiger stressed that the family had no criticism of the ambulance service, adding that both the frontline and behind-the-scenes staff were all “heroes”.

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