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Collapsed woman refused help

Barclays Bank, High Street, Maidstone.
Barclays Bank, High Street, Maidstone.

Exclusive by Nick Lillitos


A woman who collapsed in Maidstone High Street was refused help by Barclays' first aid staff.

Passersby and police rallied to help, while Conservative councillor Stephen Paine, who witnessed the scene, ran around the shops to find a qualified first aider.

The mid-morning incident happened just as a wider storm was raging around the bank's headquarters which was fined £290 million for rigging inter-bank lending rates.

"A gentleman was looking after her and called an amubulance," said Cllr Paine. "I did not have any luck finding any first aiders in the town hall or the British Heart Foundation shop, so I tried Barclays."

A bank teller ran to check with her manager, said Cllr Paine, who was apparently a trained first aider.

But Cllr Paine was shocked when the response came back that they weren't allowed to administer first aid outside of the building.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

"I was dumbfounded and tried to appeal to this lady's humanity," said Cllr Paine. "Surely first aiders are just that, the first point of call when needing emergency aid? The lady was only a few metres outside the branch.

"No reason was given. I can only assume it was fear of litgation or some other nonsense."

Cllr Paine said the incident highlights a dire gap in humanity if no-one is willing to help for fear of legal action.

"To me, this highlights, the requirements for town centre business to ensure they have designated first aiders on site, and that those staff understand their role is to help out fellow human beings - whether they are customers or not."

A spokesman for the bank confirmed it had a cautious policy in lending help - even for customers collapsing on its premises.

"Given UK laws, a first aider providing care is held responsible if something goes wrong. The employee would then be liable and not the bank.

"They would need to ask the customer's permission to provide treatment and it's very much a personal decision for the first aider, especially if the customer was unconscious."

An ambulance spokesman said the lady who collapsed in the High Street had breathing difficulties. She declined further treatment after the crew attended her.

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