Ambulance chiefs claimed to ‘be in control’ as disaster unfolded

The efforts of senior ambulance officers to take themselves out of the firing line in the wake of Hillsborough pervades the newly released documents.

Weeks after the event, a draft statement of South Yorkshire chief ambulance officer Albert Page, said: “I was satisfied that my officers knew what they were doing and they were doing an excellent job.”

While acknowledging there were deficiencies in the communications equipment he stresses the service was “in control of the situation”.

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In reality the panel yesterday found a catalogue of failings in the way the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service dealt with the disaster.

Doctors who attempted to help save lives on the day and criticised the service were attempted to be discredited as “ill-informed” and “impulsive”.

While the panel says the service laid the blame at the door of South Yorkshire Police for failing to recognise the severity of the incident sooner, despite the disclosed documents revealing its officers were even slower to respond.

Meanwhile a systematic prioritising of casualties was not put in place by either the ambulance service or police, and opportunities were also missed to deploy paramedics sooner. Chief executive David Whiting said: “23 years on, the service is very different and events such as this have shaped the way the emergency services plan and respond to major incidents today.”