Manchester Arena victim's stepdad slams cuts over 'shameful' emergency service failings


    On Thursday, Manchester Arena Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders delivered a scathing report on the response of the emergency services. Dr Stuart Murray, the stepfather of Martyn Hett, has criticised the “shameful” practices of the NHS. He said: “I’ve sat and I’ve listened and now we have the evidence.

    “It is absolutely disgraceful that large corporate companies can make money by cutting back on basic first aid measures which have been proven to save lives.

    “I call on the Government and the Department of Health and Social Care to follow Sir John’s recommendations to collaborate with the care quality commission and to weed out this shameful practice.”

    One of the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena suicide bombing would probably have survived but for inadequacies in the emergency response.

    Care worker John Atkinson, 28, was six metres away when the explosion went off in the City Room foyer of the venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on the evening of May 22, 2017.

    READ MORE: Manchester Arena terror report finds two died due to failures

    A member of the public used his wife’s belt as a tourniquet on Mr Atkinson’s leg as he lay bleeding in agony on the City Room floor for up to 50 minutes, during which time he told a police officer: “I’m gonna die.”

    Only three paramedics entered the City Room on the night and none were seen to attend or assist Mr Atkinson, before he was carried on a makeshift stretcher to a casualty clearing area where he later suffered a cardiac arrest – one hour and 16 minutes after the blast.

    Sir John said: “Significant aspects of the emergency response on 22nd May 2017 went wrong. This should not have happened.

    “Some of what went wrong had serious and, in the case of John Atkinson, fatal consequences for those directly affected by the explosion.”

    Sir John said it was “highly unlikely” the bombing’s youngest victim, eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos , would have survived her injuries with “only a remote possibility she could have survived with different treatment and care.”

    The initial command of the incident was taken by Greater Manchester Police’s force duty officer, Inspector Dale Sexton, but he “quickly became overburdened by the number of tasks he had to undertake”, the report found.

    Sir John said: “This had a direct impact on the effectiveness of the emergency response. It affected who received information, what resources were made available and the decisions of other commanders.”

    Following erroneous reports of gunshots, Inspector Sexton declared Operation Plato – a pre-arranged plan for a suspected marauding terrorist – but he “overlooked” telling other emergency services.


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    “It affected the ability of the emergency services to work together by join

    “In the first quarter of an hour after the attack and thereafter, there was substantial confusion over the location of an RVP (rendezvous point). Each emergency service chose its own.”

    Fire crews took more than two hours to even attend the incident after station manager Andy Berry chose to mobilise resources three miles from the Arena amid fears over safety.

    Sir John said: “The effect… was that the fire appliances at Manchester Central Fire Station drove away from, not towards, the incident. While driving away, the Manchester Central fire appliances drove past ambulances travelling in the opposite direction.”


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