Edinburgh Council offer apology after ambulance delay following pupil’s head injury

City of Edinburgh council apologised over the delay
City of Edinburgh council apologised over the delay

Edinburgh council has been forced to apologise after a school failed to call an ambulance when a pupil suffered a head injury which left them “confused, distressed and suffering from loss of memory.”

The City of Edinburgh Council has said sorry to two parents after they were unhappy with how their child at a city primary school was dealt with after suffering a head injury when they fell during playtime.

The authority has also reviewed its emergency procedures for pupils following an investigation by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

The parents, known as Mr and Mrs C, lodged the complaint over the treatment of their child, known as child A.

The SPSO report said: “Following the injury they were confused, distressed and were suffering from loss of memory.

“Mr and Mrs C felt that an ambulance should have been called immediately. Instead, the school observed child A for a short time, before calling Mr and Mrs C and asking them to pick child A up and take them to the GP.

“This meant that there was a period of around 45 minutes from the injury occurring to them attending to pick up their child. Mr and Mrs C complained that the relevant council procedure was not appropriately followed when the school were dealing with child A’s head injury.”

The couple also complained that the city council’s procedure was “not appropriately followed” after the injury and the parents were also “dissatisfied with the standard of the council’s complaints handling”.

The council’s emergency procedure said that “an ambulance should be called immediately” if a child has been unconscious, vomiting frequently, suffering with neck pain or their condition was “giving cause for concern”.

According to the SPSO, the council’s records showed that “staff were concerned by child A’s condition”.

Instead of asking the parents to pick up the child and take them to their local GP, the school “should have arranged for them to be transported directly to hospital by taxi or a member of staff’s personal vehicle”, according to the SPSO.

The SPSO ruling said: “We considered that the council’s complaints handling had been unreasonable. In particular, we felt that a reasonable investigation should have highlighted that the school’s failure to arrange direct transport to hospital was in clear contravention of the accidents to pupils procedure.”

The city council was asked to apologise to the parents for failing to follow the procedure, for the delay in the child receiving medical attention. The authority was also asked to liaise with NHS 24 to review its accident procedure and ensure staff are aware of the changes.

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “We have apologised to the family for any distress caused and have reviewed our procedures.”

David Bol , Local Democracy Reporting Service