A CORONER said significant delays in ambulance response times made ‘no difference’ in preventing the death of a Cumbrian man.

Christopher David Robinson was pronounced dead at 9:29 am on December 29 2022 at his home address on Castle Garth View in Appleby.

Coroner Margaret Taylor ruled the 39-year-old had died after taking a ‘toxic amount’ of quetiapine, a medicine that helps with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, coupled with therapeutic levels of prescription methadone.

Cockermouth Coroners Court heard Mr Robinson triggered a 999 call at 4:44 am and while slurring his words told the call handler that he had fallen over several times and could no longer stand up or raise his arms.

He was recorded as a category three response and placed on a waiting list to speak with a clinician to call him and see if his condition had worsened.

A clinician attempted to call Mr Robinson three times at 9:10 am, 9:11 am and 9:13 am before paramedics were eventually dispatched because of his failure to answer the phone.

Anthony Evans, a trained paramedic familiar with the background of the inquest, said a faster response could have been made had the call handler probed further on elements of their lines of inquiry.

However Mr Evans believed this would have been an unlikely contributing factor in paramedics attending his address earlier due to ‘significant pressure’ placed on the North West Ambulance Service.

He said: “There was a spike in demand the day before which put unrelenting pressure on the service due to the increase in waiting times for hospital handovers.

“A handover should take no longer than 15 minutes but the handover time of the closest hospital to Mr Robinson was five hours and 27 minutes.

“The estimated average response time for a category two call was three hours and 30 minutes and the average response time for a category three call was six hours and 15 minutes.”

The full inquest was held after a hearing in May was adjourned to establish if there had been any failings or if the death could have been prevented in anyway.

The court heard Mr Robinson had a history of struggling with substance dependence including the use of heroin and cannabis and was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time.

Recording a drug-related death from the toxic effects of quetiapine and methadone, Ms Taylor said: “Despite his problems, Christopher was a valued member of the family.

“That night even had Christopher's call been categorised as a category two, it is very unlikely that he would have been found alive when the paramedics arrived. It is hard to say whether he would have survived the quetiapine overdose because there is no antidote for that.”