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Rochester man died after falling down the stairs after waiting nearly three hours for ambulance

An inquiry was launched after an ambulance took almost three hours to get to a man who had fallen down the stairs - when it should have taken 18 minutes.

Andrew Childs died days later, after the fall at his home in Weller Avenue, Rochester, an inquest heard.

The Archbishops Palace in Maidstone
The Archbishops Palace in Maidstone

He had woken in the middle of the night on September 18 last year and then fell.

Mr Childs was then taken to Medway Maritime Hospital.

The inquest into the 60-year-old’s death heard he had a history of alcohol abuse, but did not appear under the influence at the time of his fall.

A CT scan carried out when he arrived in hospital showed no signs of brain injury, but he did have severe facial injuries and damage to his spleen.

Staff carried out multiple neurological tests and although he registered as the highest level of conciousness when he was admitted, he had deteriorated by the evening.

Another CT was carried out which showed bleeds on the brain, and Mr Childs was transferred to King’ s College Hospital in London where he passed away on September 23.

At the inquest at Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone, concerns were raised about the time it took an ambulance to get to Mr Childs.

His wife called 999 at 12.45am and an ambulance did not arrive until 3.27am.

Francesca Jones, who conducted an investigation into the incident for South East Coast Ambulance Service, said staff shortages were among the reasons why the ambulance service was strained that night and there were only four ambulances available in the Medway area.

Mr Childs’ case was assigned as a category two by call handlers, which meant he ought to have been seen within 18 minutes.

Ms Jones said: “We recognise that it was a significant delay.

“We were struggling to get to our category two calls in a timely fashion.”

She said since the incident, a re-structure had meant the department had secured more funding, had a bigger fleet and had held an intensive recruitment drive.

Concluding, assistant coroner Catherine Woods said: “I don’t find that there was any causative failing in this case.

“I do find that Andrew died as a result of an accident.”

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