A schoolgirl who died after waiting an hour for an ambulance in her GP’s surgery could have survived if it had arrived on time, an inquest found today.

Ffion Jones, 12, was rushed by her mother to Rumney Primary Care Centre in Cardiff, on December 7, 2016, after she began vomiting and appeared lethargic.

While she was being checked at the practice, her blood pressure fell so low it could not be detected.

A doctor called for a rapid response vehicle, which would have arrived in eight minutes, but was told to call 999 for a regular ambulance.

She waited for an hour for an ambulance to arrive, before going into cardiac arrest and died later in hospital.

The inquest in Pontypridd reached a narrative conclusion and heard Ffion had Addison’s disease – a rare condition where the adrenal glands in the kidneys stop functioning.



GP Dr Nicola Leeson said she had been receiving training for requesting rapid response ambulances and had been told to call a specialist number.

The doctor first called for an ambulance at 2.24pm but was told to call 999 instead.

‘I didn’t get the response I was expecting so I was taken aback,’ the doctor told the inquest.

While waiting for an ambulance, Ffion’s condition improved after taking Dioralyte but she later collapsed in the surgery.

She called the ambulance service again to inform them the little girl was in cardiac arrest.

The doctor told the inquest: ‘Just as we were applying the oxygen another receptionist appeared to say that I had to go and confirm it was a real cardiac arrest before the ambulance service would send an ambulance.

‘I was obviously slightly distracted by the information I had just been given and was rendered speechless for a few seconds.’

The ambulance arrived at 3.30pm and took Ffion to the University Hospital of Wales.

But the young girl was pronounced dead the next day, after medics could not detect brain activity following a series of tests.

Nia Gowman, representing the Welsh Ambulance Service, said they accepted there was a ‘missed opportunity’ to pass the call onto another desk to request an eight-minute ambulance.



But it was argued that it would be ‘purely speculation’ to suggest this could have saved Ffion’s life.

However, Assistant Coroner David Regan said Ffion would likely have survived if Dr Leeson’s call was escalated and an ambulance arrived sooner.

He said: ‘The call was not escalated to the clinical desk as it should have been.’

In a statement, Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service said: ‘We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Jones and their family at this very sad and difficult time…

‘We are deeply saddened, as our service exists to respond to the needs of the people of Wales.’

A manager at the service said changes had been made since Fiion’s death, namely a 24-hour clinical on-call system.