Leisure workers suspended over Jamie Skinner death

Jamie Skinner. Picture: contributed
Jamie Skinner. Picture: contributed
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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 suspended.

The move follows criticism employees at the Saughton Sports Complex failed to use a defibrillator kept on-site for medical emergencies despite being trained to do so.

Tynecastle teammates of Jamie Skinner leave floral tributes to the youngster at the Saughton Sports Complex. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Tynecastle teammates of Jamie Skinner leave floral tributes to the youngster at the Saughton Sports Complex. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Bosses at Edinburgh Leisure suspended the two men on full pay on Wednesday night. An investigation is being carried out to determine whether its “emergency operation plan was carried out in accordance with our standards”.

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

Coaches and parents fought to save him, but he was later pronounced dead at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

A parent who witnessed the tragedy said she was pleased that an inquiry was being conducted.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said: “Neither of these employees came out to the pitch and they had a defibrillator and training to use it. That doesn’t seem good enough.

“We don’t know whether using a defibrillator earlier could have saved Jamie, but he deserved the chance. It’s important that there is an investigation to try and prevent anything like this from happening again.”

She added: “Edinburgh Leisure have been open and honest. They’ve spoken to other parents to get their accounts, and seem to genuinely want to find out what went on.”

Jamie’s father, George, 54, said that the family did not want to comment on the investigation while it was ongoing.

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

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.

Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival. That’s why it’s important that defibrillators are easily available and accessible in busy public places.”

Graeme Gardiner, director of operations at Edinburgh Leisure, said: “We have taken action to ascertain if the emergency operation plan was carried out in accordance with our standards. We have concluded that the most appropriate action at this time is to suspend the two members of staff who were on duty pending further investigation.

“Edinburgh Leisure is continuing to co-operate fully with police with their investigation into this as yet unexplained and tragic incident.”

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


A DEFIBRILLATOR delivers an electric shock to the chest of someone suffering a heart attack.

Simple to use and portable, there are calls for the devices to be installed at public building, gyms and golf courses across Scotland.

Golf legend Bernard Gallacher, 64, who nearly died after a heart attack, is a key supporter for better public access.

Last year, quick-thinking sports centre staff used a defibrillator to save the life of Colin Kerr, 49, who collapsed without warning at Gracemount Leisure Centre on June 3. Gym staff restarted his heart with one while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.