Tragedy sparks fears on ambulance cover

Flowers on North Road are left for 16-year-old Kyle Lowes from Eyemouth.
Flowers on North Road are left for 16-year-old Kyle Lowes from Eyemouth.

Ambulance chiefs have launched an investigation into the ‘delayed response’ to an accident in which a 16-year-old boy died.

Kyle Lowes, from Eyemouth, was killed in a collision between a car and a scooter in Berwick on Friday night.

But concerns have been raised that it took nearly half an hour for the ambulance to arrive.

The collision happened just after 10pm on North Road at the junction with Magdalene Drive, opposite the Aldi store.

Ambulance control received the call at 10.02pm but it was not until 10.25pm that a community paramedic arrived from Wooler and 10.28pm when the Berwick ambulance crew arrived.

Paramedics administered CPR for 20 minutes but the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “The North East Ambulance Service would like to send its most sincere condolences to the family following this tragedy.

“We are currently investigating the circumstances around our delayed response.

“This was a red call for which the target response time is eight minutes. All UK ambulance services are funded by commissioners to reach 75% of all red cases within that eight minute target. Tragically, this was one of those instances that fell into the 25%.”

Dozens of floral tributes were laid at the crash site, while hundreds of Kyle’s friends expressed their sorrow on his facebook page.

Eyemouth High School head teacher David Watson paid tribute to the pupil who had only very recently left school and started a job.

He said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Kyle’s death. We are a close community and this tragedy has affected us all deeply. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

“Kyle was a well-liked young man, a quiet and well behaved pupil, yet who one-to-one and with his peers had a great sense of humour.

“The fifth year pupils are a very close year group and are feeling Kyle’s loss deeply. As with any tragic incident, we are offering a range of options to assist our pupils during this time, including counselling.”

Politicians in Berwick have been trying to secure improved ambulance cover in the town following previous incidents of people facing lengthy waits in emergency situations.

The town has two vehicles but only one operates at night which can be called away to take patients to hospitals more than 60 miles away.

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith and his would-be replacement Julie Pörksen have a petition calling for both Berwick ambulances to operate 24 hours, which over 1,800 people have signed.

Sir Alan said: “This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

“Julie Pörksen and I have been calling repeatedly for an additional emergency ambulance to be based in Berwick and the time it took to get an ambulance in this case underlines the need for that.

“Clearly there needs to be an investigation into this case and I have taken this up with NEAS already.

“We need to know the full details of how the call to the ambulance service was handled and what could have been done differently in this very sad case.”

Mrs Pörksen added: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the young man who tragically died in Berwick at this exceptionally difficult and sad time. There is a real need for Berwick to have a better emergency health service as the distance and times involved in reaching life-saving health care are significant.”

Meanwhile, police are carrying out enquiries into the collision and asking any witnesses to come forward.

Motor Patrols Sergeant Jason Ryder said: “It’s important we find out what happened and I would ask anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact us.

“We believe the boy was with another male on a scooter shortly before the collision and they had visited McDonald’s in Berwick. We’re keen to hear from anyone who saw them.”

A 43-year-old man from Berwick was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless/inconsiderate driving and released on police bail.

Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191.