A family has shared their grief after losing a “caring” father who died while waiting for an ambulance – despite them making three desperate 999 calls.
His daughter, Minnie Rahman, 34, said her father, Iqbal, 58, felt “nobody was coming to help him” as he deteriorated on Christmas Eve.
Fondly remembered as a caring husband, father and grandfather, Iqbal Rahman died aged 58 on Christmas Eve after falling seriously ill – despite the three frantic phone calls.
His daughter Minnie told the Mirror: “My dad felt in his final hours that nobody was coming to help him, it’s really difficult for me and my family to live with.”
However, Minnie does not hold the ambulance service or NHS responsible – instead, she blames years of Government underfunding. As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted “patients aren’t receiving the care they deserve”, Minnie said: “The Government has created a situation in which it is impossible for healthcare professionals to provide the care they are trained to give.”
And as Mr Sunak claimed the Government is taking “urgent action” to tackle “challenges in A&E”, Minnie blasted: “It is clearly not enough. At this point, the Tories cannot be trusted. For 13 years they’ve underfunded and privatised the NHS, leaving it in this disastrous state. They’re too far late for the many of us grieving loved ones who didn’t get help when we needed it.
“I don’t think any of my family ever thought that if you call the ambulance they won’t come when it’s that bad. And it was that bad – Dad died. My mum is just devastated”
On a Christmas Eve of chaos, West Midlands Ambulance Service received its first call from Iqbal’s family at 7.07pm.
Iqbal was triaged as a category 5 case, requiring a callback with advice from a paramedic or nurse. His family could not lift him into a car to take him to hospital and 40 minutes later, as Iqbal’s condition deteriorated, they called 999 again.
This time he was triaged as category 2 and an ambulance was dispatched – then diverted to a higher priority call. When Iqbal stopped breathing the family rang a third time at 8.04pm. Guidelines state an ambulance should arrive within about seven minutes after this. It arrived at 8.28pm.
Paramedics worked on Iqbal for over 90 minutes with no success.
A WMAS spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise to the Rahman family for the delayed response and offer our condolences. At the time of the call, the Trust was experiencing long hospital handover delays.”
Iqbal was due to spend Christmas at an Airbnb in Hereford with Minnie’s mum Samina, 58, her sister Sana, 36, and Sana’s children. When he arrived, Iqbal was already feeling poorly.
His wife Samina, a speech therapist for the NHS, believed her husband of 38 years was suffering from heart problems.
Minnie, a consultant, said: “He was complaining of extreme shoulder pain, had a very high temperature and was excessively sweating. It was first advised that it could be due to his diabetes. It wasn’t until his breathing stopped that paramedics were sent.”
Iqbal, who worked in smart energy, had spent four years living in Manchester, and was due to move back into the family home in Birmingham. As Minnie explained: “He was extremely caring and funny, quite silly. It should not have been my dad who died in this way and it shouldn’t be anybody else’s.”
Minnie said her father’s death was also “heartbreaking” for paramedics: “They should be getting to people at a stage where they can help. How many families will be traumatised before the Government does what it has to do and funds the NHS properly?”