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Rough sleeper who died waiting for an ambulance in ‘wealthy’ Wembley Park sparks review

PUBLISHED: 17:29 15 January 2020

Heron House, in Wembley Hill Road. Picture :Google

Heron House, in Wembley Hill Road. Picture :Google

Archant

A rough sleeper died after waiting two hours for an ambulance – leading to criticism of homeless services.

London Ambulance Service was called to Heron House, in Wembley Hill Road, just after 5pm on December 10 to reports of a man unwell and assigned it as a "category three response".

The service is reviewing the case after crews arrived at around 7.20pm.

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A spokesperson said: "By the time we had arrived the man's condition had clearly deteriorated and he had sadly died. We prioritise all of our calls based on patients' individual needs at the time of the call and callers are given clear advice about ringing 999 again if the condition of the patient changes."

Zerine Tata, chair of a nearby residents' association, said: "[Brent Council] informed me that regulations state that they do not have to provide extra beds until the temperature goes down to zero. How many rough sleepers have to die before the council takes this matter seriously? There has been an increase in rough sleepers in Wembley and when we are alerted by a resident of where they have been seen, the help we can give them is so limited and fills us with helplessness and frustration."

Ms Tata said there are no hostels in Wembley for rough sleepers, adding: "The longer they are sleeping out, especially in winter, could make them very ill and if not attended to at the time, they could very easily die.

"The Civic Centre could provide a direct service of help and support for rough sleepers during the day, in conjunction with the outreach services."

Cllr Ellie Southwood, Brent's lead member for housing and welfare reform, said: "We were extremely saddened to learn of the death of a man sleeping rough in Brent on 10 December last year. St Mungo's, who provide an outreach service to people sleeping rough in Brent, had been working with this gentleman. He had no recourse to public funds, which puts legal restrictions on the services he could access. We will continue to do all we can to prevent homelessness claiming another life in Brent, including lobbying the Government to change legislation to make it easier for people with no recourse to public funds to access services."


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