A pensioner died after being thrown from her wheelchair when an ambulance was involved in a collision on the way to hospital.
May Jean Morris’s wheelchair was not properly secured, a judge ruled on Wednesday, which resulted in her being thrown from it in the low-speed smash.
Following the 78-year-old’s death, the Scottish Ambulance Service was fined £55,000 for breaching health and safety legislation in relation to its care of Mrs Morris.
In December 10, 2008, Mrs Morris was being taken to hospital in a passenger transport vehicle when it was involved in a smash with a van at Renfrew Road in Paisley. She died in hospital three days later after being thrown from her wheelchair in the crash.
At Paisley Sheriff Court, the ambulance service’s board pled guilty to failing to sufficiently assess mechanisms for securing wheelchair users in transport ambulances between June 2007 and December 2008, as well as failing to make Mrs Morris safe. She was only secured by a nylon lap belt that was part of her wheelchair.
Elaine Taylor, Head of the Crown’s health and safety division, said: "The Scottish Ambulance Service Board has today pleaded guilty to a significant breach of their duty not to expose to risk to their health and safety patients in wheelchairs requiring transport for medical care and hospital appointments in their vehicles.
"Those in wheelchairs were vulnerable persons who relied on the Scottish Ambulance Service Board to transport them safely, and yet for almost 18 months there was no safe system to ensure that they were adequately secured in those wheelchairs while in the vehicles.
"A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should have identified this issue and enabled the service to take steps to put such a system in place. There were also deficiencies in the provision of information and instruction to staff, and a lack of supervision in relation to inspection and equipment issues. The death of Mrs Morris was entirely avoidable and our thoughts today are with her family."
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