Nasima Begum, 11, who had a kidney condition, lay screaming as her family pleaded with ambulance control staff four times for help. The Patient's Charter guarantees an ambulance within 14 minutes. But a shortage of staff and vehicles at the crisis- hit London Ambulance Service meant that she had to wait 53 minutes before help came. She died three-and-a- half hours later at the Royal London Hospital, three minutes away by ambulance from her east London home.
A 999 tape recorded the family's desperate attempts to get an ambulance from the Waterloo base. Nasima can be heard screaming in the background. An internal investigation has revealed there was a lack of ambulances on the night she fell ill, 19 June. Mistakes by staff were said to have contributed to the crisis.
Tom Sackville, a junior health minister, agreed that the delay was 'disgraceful and unacceptable'. LAS said it was a 'very sad and regrettable' case, adding that it had taken on 100 more operations staff since Nasima's death.