DAVID Cameron’s right-hand-man has praised paramedics who he says saved his life.

West Oxfordshire District Council leader Barry Norton, who is the Prime Minister’s election agent, was rushed to hospital earlier this month.

His wife Molly had called paramedics after Mr Norton, 67, went into anaphylactic shock and started struggling to breathe.

Grandfather Mr Norton said he believed the incident occurred after he had an allergic reaction to medication for kidney stones.

He said: “The ambulance arrived within 10 minutes, which was very quick, but by they time they got here I was stood in the back garden gasping for air.

“The idea that I might die did flash across my mind. I think if they hadn’t got there so quickly I would have died.”

Mr Norton had taken the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac on May 1 to deal with back pain caused by ongoing problems with kidney stones.

He drove to work at the district council offices in Witney as usual, but things started to go wrong at lunchtime.

He said: “At around 1pm I started noticing itching and a red rash coming up on my arms. It was like nettle rash where it all joins up into large blotches.

“I showed it to my secretary and she said I should go home. I drove back to North Leigh. My wife called the doctor who said I should be given steroids.”

But things went from bad to worse as Mr Norton’s throat started to dry up and he struggled to breathe.

Paramedics tried to administer oxygen but eventually had to give him several adrenalin shots.

The next thing Mr Norton knew, he had woken up in the John Radcliffe hospital.

He said: “They had to keep me in for a while, and I ended up missing the election count in Witney and the one the following day in Abingdon.

“It’s the first time I’ve missed a count in my 20 years as an agent, but of course I was too ill to go.

“The paramedics were absolutely fantastic and so caring. And the care I got at the John Radcliffe was fantastic too. I want to thank them for their help.”

Now fully recovered, he has officially written to South Central Ambulance Service offering his thanks.

Paramedic Rosie Trevillion said: “I am relieved that the patient has made a full recovery, and I am very touched that he wanted to say thank you.”


  • Anaphylaxis is defined by the NHS as “a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can develop rapidly”.
  • Symptoms include breathing difficulties, feeling light-headed or faint, changes to skin such as itchiness or a raised red rash and swelling of certain body parts, particularly the face.
  • It can be life-threatening, but cases of death are rare.
  • Oxford GP Joe McManners said: “If somebody suffers an anaphylactic shock it can be life-threatening and certainly should be treated as a medical emergency.”