Jamie Skinner dad: Sackings show failure in system

Jamie Skinner collapsed and died during a match at Saughton
Jamie Skinner collapsed and died during a match at Saughton
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TWO Edinburgh Leisure workers at the sports centre where 13-year-old Jamie Skinner collapsed and died while playing football have been sacked from their jobs, as his father highlighted “failings” in the system.

The Evening News has learned the pair were dismissed following bosses’ six-week investigation into their response to the tragic incident at the Saughton Sports ­Complex.

Sources said the men were removed from their posts for failing to follow proper emergency procedures at the centre.

The internal inquiry was launched following criticism of the employees’ failure to use a defibrillator kept for medical emergencies, despite being trained to do so. It is understood the employees have lodged appeals against the decision which are still pending.

Jamie suffered a suspected heart attack while making his debut for Tynecastle FC under-14s on December 22.

Jamie’s father, George, revealed he is now determined to get his hands on the full investigation report - which officials have said will not be made public.

Mr Skinner, 54, who is currently in Nigeria, said yesterday: “Edinburgh Leisure has completed an investigation and made a decision so there must have been failings in their system.”

He added: “I am trying to get a copy of the investigation report.

“Until then I can’t really make any comment at this time.”

Jamie’s brother-in-law, Steven McCraw was at the game and saw the youngster fall.

Speaking at the time he said: “I thought he was joking around at first so I yelled at him to get up.

“I ran over to him and he had curled up into a ball and started screaming. He screamed for about 20 seconds and then just nothing.”

Despite the best efforts of emergency staff and a nurse who was present at the game, Jamie was pronounced dead at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary later that day.

A parent who witnessed the tragedy said she supported the decision taken by Edinburgh Leisure chiefs. The mother, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m terribly sorry for anyone to lose their jobs, especially in these difficult times, but equally I’m sure Edinburgh Leisure looked at what happened before taking this action. We’ll never know whether a defibrillator would have saved Jamie. It’s likely that it wouldn’t have, but he deserved that chance. Coaches and mums and dads were running about, helping Jamie and doing different things, and two people who had access to equipment and training to use it failed to do so.”

Edinburgh Leisure director of operations, Graeme Gardiner said they had taken “necessary action to ensure that future responses benefit from lessons learned from this incident.”

He said: “Safety and care continues to be of paramount importance a Edinburgh Leisure and our procedures and training reflect this.

“We remain unable to comment on the specific action taken against individuals at this time.”

In the days following the tragedy, Edinburgh Leisure said the two employees were focused on contacting the emergency services and opening gates for an ambulance and did not get the opportunity to use the defibrillator.

Jamie collapsed five minutes into the game’s second half and an ambulance arrived at around noon, 11 minutes after the 999 call, according to the Scottish Ambulance Service. Paramedics used their defibrillator upon arrival, giving the stricken teenager two shocks.

Jamie’s funeral was held at Craigmillar Castle Park Cemetery. His death came hours after Hibs player David Paul, 18, died in his sleep.