An ambulance trust has apologised after a patient declared dead by one of its crews woke up in hospital.

The individual, who has not been identified, was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital in County Durham on Friday by paramedics who thought they had died following an “incident” earlier that day.

But on arrival, it emerged the patient was still alive. Their current condition has not been revealed.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) apologised to the patient’s family and said an investigation had been launched into the error, which was first reported by The Northern Echo.

Director of paramedicine Andrew Hodge said: “As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we opened an investigation and contacted the patient’s family.

“We are deeply sorry for the distress that this has caused them. A full review of this incident is being undertaken and we are unable to comment any further at this stage.”

He added: “The colleagues involved are being supported appropriately and we will not be commenting further about any individuals at this point.”

It comes only months after the trust was criticised in a damning report which highlighted how one of its paramedics had declared a patient dead rather than trying to perform CPR. The member of staff was later struck off.

The review, led by retired hospital boss Dame Marianne Griffiths, found evidence of “significant culture and behavioural issues” at NEAS.

However, the report was dismissed as a “whitewash” by the family of 17-year-old Quinn Evie Milburn-Beadle, who believe she might have lived if the paramedic had taken further action to try and save her in 2018.