‘Someone made a mistake, and I hope the investigation helps to change things for the future’
PUBLISHED: 18:27 30 January 2018
The brother of a man who allegedly froze to death after waiting 18 hours for an ambulance to arrive is demanding answers from the authorities.
Anthony Barnard, 57, was found dead outside a home in Priors Close, Lowestoft, on December 28.
Police had reported concerns for his welfare to the ambulance service on December 27, and his body was found the next day.
Mr Barnard’s brother Jeremy, 55, said it was awful that a month on from the tragedy that he has still been left with so many unanswered questions.
He said: “At the end of the day we cannot change the outcome for my brother now but I hope someone is held responsible for their actions.
“Someone should have gone and checked on Tony – it is awful he died on his own.”
Calling for someone to be held accountable following his brother’s death, Jeremy said his concerns rested with the handling of the call.
He said: “The ambulance were phoned and I understand it was talked back to the police and they made the decision not to do anything.
“I don’t think the ambulance service or the police force are to blame. I think it’s the person in the call centre who took the initial call, and took it on themselves to make that decision.
“Someone made a mistake, and while it won’t change anything for the family I hope the investigation helps to change things for the future.”
According to Jeremy, his brother was divorced and had two children. He said: “Tony was always outgoing, he lived life to the full. He was always well turned out and would do anything for anyone.”
But after a number of setbacks in his life, he turned to drink. Jeremy said: “As life went on, things got on top of him, drink took over and it got worse and worse over time.”
Mr Barnard’s death was highlighted by an ambulance service whistleblower, with it being suspected that he had “frozen to death.”
His brother added: “It has been a real shock for me. Would he still have been alive had the ambulance service responded to the first call?”
After concerns had been raised for Anthony Barnard’s welfare by social services, who referred the call to police, the ambulance service were subsequently alerted.
The first call was made at 3.46pm on December 27, which was categorised by the ambulance service as a non-emergency call not requiring a response, as Mr Barnard was “conscious and breathing,”
But after neighbours alerted the service with a second 999 call at 10.33am on December 28 – with reports of “a man who was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest,” according to the trust – Mr Barnard was found dead outside the address in freezing temperatures.
The East of England Ambulance Service said the incident was being “formally investigated” by the trust.
Suffolk Police said they have made a “mandatory referral” to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which will conduct an independent investigation.