Jamie Skinner’s father says sackings show failure

Tributes left to Jammie Skinner
Tributes left to Jammie Skinner
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THE grieving father of a teenage footballer who collapsed and died during a match said the sacking of two council workers proved there had been “failings” in the system.

Jamie Skinner, 13, was making his debut for Tynecastle football club’s under-14s when he suffered a suspected heart attack.

Jamie Skinner

Jamie Skinner

The tragedy happened at Saughton Sports complex in Edinburgh, run by Edinburgh Council but operated by their arms-length company Edinburgh Leisure, on 22 December last year.

Coaches and parents fought to save Jamie’s life but he was later pronounced dead at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It emerged that two staff members failed to use a defibrillator kept for medical emergencies despite being trained to do so.

Following the incident Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the site, said their staff had focussed on contacting the emergency services and opening gates for an ambulance and did not have the opportunity to use the defibrillator.

According to the Scottish Ambulance Service an ambulance arrived at the ground 11 minutes after a 999 call.

Paramedics then used their own defibrillator in an attempt to save Jamie’s life.

Last night Jamie’s father, George, said he determined to obtain the full investigation report - which officials have said will not be made public.

Two workers were suspended in January pending a six-week investigation into whether the medical emergency plan had been properly implemented.

Mr Skinner, 54, who is currently in Nigeria, said: “Edinburgh Leisure has completed an investigation and made a decision so there must have been failings in their system.”

He added: “I am trying to get a copy of the investigation report.

“Until then I can’t really make any comment at this time.”

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure said that due to legal reasons she could not confirm that employees had been sacked.

Referring to the report, she said: “It is unlikely it will be made public due to data protection and employment law. Mr Skinner would need to contact Edinburgh Leisure directly.”

A witness, who wished not to be named, said: “I’m terribly sorry for anyone to lose their jobs, especially in these difficult times, but equally I’m sure Edinburgh Leisure looked at what happened before taking this action.

“We’ll never know whether a defibrillator would have saved Jamie. It’s like that it wouldn’t have but he deserved the chance.”

They added: “Coaches and mums and dads were running about, helping Jamie and doing different things, and two people who had access to equipment and training to use it failed to do so.”

It is understood that the two staff have lodged appeals against the decision which are still pending.