999 investigation: ‘Heartening system is fit for purpose’

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WHEN the Evening News first broke the tragic story of a fault connecting a 999 call, it was clear something had gone badly wrong.

The family of Dennis Knox, who died after a suspected heart attack while at work, deserved answers over what caused paramedics to be delayed for up to four minutes in reaching the scene.

Whether the outcome would have been any different had they arrived sooner is something no-one will ever know. But one thing was immediately clear – this could not be allowed to happen again.

Today, we report the results of an investigation into the case, which the Evening News has been following closely.

We are pleased that a full review of ambulance control systems has been carried out in the wake of Mr Knox’s death.

It is heartening that independent experts have ruled that the system is fit for purpose, as is the assurance that the Scottish Ambulance Service along with BT have introduced new measures to ensure there can be no repeat.

Our ambulance crews do a fantastic job on a daily basis, often without the praise they deserve. But they absolutely must have the best possible back-up to give them a fighting chance of saving lives.

The investigation and the introduction of safeguards will, of course, be of small comfort to the family of Mr Knox and our thoughts are with them today.

We trust, however, that there is now reassurance for both ambulance crews and the public that when you dial 999, help is on its way – without delay.

Paws for thought

Today’S call for an outright dog ban to be enforced in high-rise flats is a knee-jerk reaction.

It is obvious the issue needs to be looked at following the shocking case in Leith where a pet mauled five people, but this is not the right way to go about it.

It is easy to say that it doesn’t make sense to keep a dog in a flat but then that argument could be extended to almost anywhere in the city.

Surely no-one would want to see action against those responsible dog owners whose pets are often a vital source of companionship.

We have called before for a return of dog licences and such a move, together with a realistic charge, is what is now needed.

While more regulation is never welcome, anything else would skirt around the issue and be in danger of itself becoming a real dog’s dinner.