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West Midlands ambulance staff failings revealed

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More than 40 serious incidents and cases of malpractice were reported at West Midlands Ambulance Service in three years, including people falling off stretchers in ambulances and one crew failing to notice its patient had died.

More than 40 serious incidents and cases of malpractice were reported at West Midlands Ambulance Service in three years, including people falling off stretchers in ambulances and one crew failing to notice its patient had died.

According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, there have been 45 serious untoward incidents reported at the service since April 2007, not including those which resulted in criminal investigations.

Six reports of confidential information being released were made, including in July 2007 where a staff member in the Hereford, Shropshire and Worcestershire area deliberately leaked patient information to a reporter.

In May 2009, police were called after a member of staff working in the region left a napkin with IT passwords on it in a public place.

In June 2008 in the region, records in a warehouse were accidentally destroyed.

Paramedics also reported drugs were lost or left behind at the scene of an accident six times.

An incident in Coventry and Warwickshire in November 2009 saw ambulance crews fail to notice their patient had died in transit to hospital. The crews were immediately suspended.

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman Claire Thomas said: "The service takes serious untoward incidents very seriously. Each incident is fully investigated to ensure lessons can be learned."

The Express & Star asked for details of all serious untoward incidents reported at the service since April 2007.

However the service invoked a clause in the Freedom of Information Act under which it does not have to give details.

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