Harry Dunn's family tackling 'root causes' of NHS pressure in Northamptonshire

'Things need to change and we're determined to help', says bereaved mother after son waited 43 minutes for an ambulance.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 3:23 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 3:24 pm

Harry Dunn's family wants to help tackle the 'root causes' of NHS pressure that meant the teenager waited more than 40 minutes for an ambulance after his crash in Northamptonshire.

They believe the 19-year-old Cobblers fan's tragic death can help to 'shine a light' on the complex pressures on East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and the healthcare system nationally.

The family has called for a meeting with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to get the Government's support after talks with Northamptonshire health bosses.

Harry Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, and father, Tim Dunn
Harry Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, and father, Tim Dunn

Harry's mother, Charlotte Charles, said: "My family and I are devastated at Harry’s loss but we have a real opportunity to use his case to make a real difference now.

"Make no mistake, we cannot carry on as we are. Things need to change and we are determined to help.

"We are very much looking forward to meeting Matt Hancock and to urge him to get right behind what we are trying to do.

"The NHS needs our help but the issues are complex and we must tackle the root causes of the problems, not just come up with short term fixes."

Harry Dunn

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While the family does not blame the NHS, they feel that more could be done to relieve the pressure on services by tackling the 'bed-blocking' issue at hospitals and raising awareness of how to report emergencies.

Charlotte, her husband, Bruce Charles, his son, Ciaran Charles, Harry's father, Tim Dunn, his wife, Tracey Dunn and the family's spokesman, Radd Seiger, met bosses from EMAS and the Northamptonshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on Thursday (January 30).

Northamptonshire CCGs chief executive Toby Sanders and EMAS chief executive Richard Henderson described the meeting as productive.

"We have agreed to work with the family to build on our local public information campaigns around supporting the choices people can make when they need NHS care," they said in a joint statement.

"The family was encouraged and welcomed the work we shared around the local integration of health and care services and we agreed to keep them updated as this work progresses."

EMAS has the biggest percentage of long delays for serious incidents in the country with most of its ambulances' time taken up by hospital delays.

Harry's condition was deemed a 'category two' call - the national standard is to respond to such incidents at least nine out of 10 times before 40 minutes.

Mr Seiger said the lack of social care in the community, meaning well patients cannot leave hospital, needed to be fixed or all other solutions would be 'sticking plasters'.

"It is wonderful for the parents to be working with our senior NHS leaders to try to improve on the seemingly never-ending cycle that the NHS is in of not being able to meet the demand that we all place on it at all levels," he said.

We firmly believe that we can use the tragic case of Harry Dunn to shine a light on the root causes that are likely to have led to the delay in the ambulance getting to him and the wider pressures the NHS faces, and change the situation once and for all, for all of our benefit."