A GRIEVING widower has slammed Calderdale Council after an ambulance treating his critically ill wife was trapped in a precinct for 11 minutes.
John Kaye’s wife Rita, 70, collapsed in Santander bank in Southgate, Halifax.
An ambulance arrived at 12.46pm after a CCTV operator lowered the bollards on Russell Street.
But an investigation by the council has revealed this operator then went on a “comfort break” - leaving the ambulance trapped with the bollards up from 13.07pm until he “realised” at 13.18pm.
Tragically, Mrs Kaye died later that night in hospital from a brain heamorrhage.
Doctors told her devastated husband that the time delay would not have affected the outcome, but Mr Kaye wrote to the council fearing the situation could arise again.
Mr Kaye, 76, of Wheatley, said: “What sort of security firm is the council employing, with rate-payers’ money, and what sort of people work there, who do this? I have a 13-year-old grandson who could do better than that.
“Why on earth is there a situation like that where there a bollards but no system for the emergency services to through? It’s unbelievable.
“I have received a letter back from the the Dave Tee (head of highways at Calderdale council) but it doesn’t say to what extent the security firm concerned have been taken to task and also the individual concerned.”
He added: “My concern wasn’t just that I was in the ambulance all that time, knowing full well that she was fighting for her life, but the fact that it’s happened, which meant that it could happen again and sooner or later it could be fatal.
“No-one is going to bring her back. Hopefully now we have a system that works. But why was it like that in the first place?”
The letter from Mr Tee apologised to Mr Kaye for his distress and acknowledged the “council’s systems have fallen short of the standards expected” on the day of the incident, February 14.
His investigation said CCTV operators allow access to emergency vehicles and one the day in question “the operator on duty was covering on a mobile relief basis and only had the essential basic amount of training within the facility prior to this date”.
The letter said: “Prior to the ambulance leaving from outside the bank at 13.07, the operator left the monitoring suite and went on a comfort break....At 13.18pm the operator came back into the monitoring suite and realised that the ambulance and the paramedic vehicles were parked at the exit bollards on the precinct and required egress., so he immediately lowered the bollards for the vehicles to exit.
“This delay was clearly unacceptable and the company provide the monitoring service has been informed of the seriousness of the matter.” “Measures have now been taken to ensure this will not occur again.”
He said operators are now instructed not to leave an emergency situation un-monitored and emergency services have now been given control to lower the bollards.