Son ‘appalled’ by two-hour ambulance wait

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 October 2015

Norman Stephens

Norman Stephens

Archant

A SON says he is ‘appalled’ that his 92-year-old father was left on the floor for two hours while waiting for an ambulance to arrive

Norman Stephens, of Coralberry Drive in Worle, is partially blind and struggles to move around.

Norman fell out of bed and could not get up, but due to ‘high demand’ on the ambulance service, paramedics took two hours to get to him.

The ambulance service says Norman did not sustain any injuries so could not be prioritised. But his son Rod – who is also disabled and lives in West Cornwall – says his father hit his head and was in ‘immense pain’, and has called for an investigation.

Rod said: “He fell and struck his head badly and his managed to crawl over to the Lifeline to get help.”

The Lifeline is a personal alarm and telephone system for elderly or frail people, which connects the person straight to a trained call handler.

However, although Norman fell at 10.55pm on October 20 and Lifeline called an ambulance at 11pm, the ambulance did not reach him until 1.05am on October 21.

Rod said: “I was frantic. Lifeline has said they’d never come across such a slow reaction to an emergency call.

“He was left on his own on the floor for two hours and eight minutes in immense pain and with laboured breathing before paramedics reached him.”

When the paramedics arrived they treated Norman on the scene and did not take him to hospital.

Rod said: “I worry that the blame will lie with the poor paramedics themselves instead of the cutbacks and money shortages provided by Government.

“My father is now safe and sound and recovering from his fall whereas in many instances that delay would have lead to the death of a loved one.

“I just hope the investigation prevents someone else’s parent being left on the floor in pain on their own for two hours.

“I am absolutely appalled.”

A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust spokesman confirmed there will be an investigation, and said: “The initial call was received at 10.59pm. Unfortunately, due to high levels of demand on the service, an ambulance did not arrive on scene until approximately two hours later.

“While the ambulance service aims to provide every patient with a timely response, all calls must be prioritised according to clinical need.”

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