Barrier that prevented ambulance attending dying man in Cheltenham was installed for safety
A BARRIER that prevented an ambulance from getting to a man who collapsed and died in a Cheltenham park was installed to make the area safer.
Police confirmed last night that paramedics had to leave the ambulance behind and run to the aid of a 64-year-old man from Cheltenham, who it is thought was "out for a walk" when he collapsed.
An ambulance was called to Brizen Playing Fields in Up Hatherley at about 2.45pm on Saturday after witnesses called 999.
On arrival, they had to call the police for assistance to get the ambulance through.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
A police spokesman said: "We were called to the scene by paramedics at 2.55pm requesting bolt cutters to open a (2.2m high) gate for ambulance access."
At 3.10pm, medics were still working on the patient at the scene.
Adam Reynolds, Cheltenham Borough Council's green space development manager, said: "The borough council is extremely sorry to hear about this incident.
"As with many public spaces in the borough, the park has a height restriction barrier to prevent access by joyriders and unauthorised traveller encampments.
"Brizen Playing Fields has a toddlers' play area, a skate park and ball court area and is very popular with children of all ages.
"Therefore, the approach we have taken to enclose the park ensures safety and is widely adopted by authorities in other towns and cities throughout the country, particularly where the threat of joyriding exists."
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said that its emergency staff needed to adapt quickly.
He said: "Emergencies can happen anywhere – home addresses, coastal paths and beaches, urban and rural roads, woodland etc – and we have many different resources we can use to ensure we get to our patients quickly, even those in particularly difficult locations.
"Our staff will always find a way of getting to patients to begin treatment and while this is underway, ambulance officers and staff in our control room can make the necessary arrangements to ensure we can also get our vehicles as close to the patient as possible.
"If there are areas we attend quite regularly, such as shopping precincts or some parks and paths, we work closely with the local authorities to ensure our vehicles carry the necessary passes, codes or keys to be able to gain access.
"Difficult access can be due to terrain or gates and barriers and sometimes it can mean the police and/or fire services assisting us, or we may require our Hazardous Area Response Team."