Woman in agony waited eight hours for ambulance

Brixham woman, 97, in agonising pain forced to wait eight hours for ambulance

Colleen Smith www.devonlive.com

A 97-year-old Brixham woman was left on the floor “in agony” waiting for an ambulance for more than eight hours because of shortages in the NHS.

Neither an ambulance nor her GP were able to reach her for eight hours and 15 minutes. Her family said they were told that because the ambulance service was busy and under pressure there was nothing that could be done “unless patient nears death”.

Her son-in-law said that his wife went to her mother’s in Brixham house and remained with her but the family’s patience ran out and he emailed DevonLive at 2.45pm: “Ambulance has now been called three times. GP contacted twice – nothing anyone can do. GP home call unavailable. Ambulance busy therefore unless patient nears death nothing can be done for the time being.

“Meanwhile my mother-in-law remains on the floor in agony.”

He sent photographs (blurred to protect the patient’s anonymity) showing the frail elderly woman on the floor wrapped in blankets while her daughter waited with her.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service confirmed that an ambulance arrived at 3pm: “We’re sorry that, due to the health and social care system being under severe pressure, some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance. One of the reasons for this is due to the length of time it’s taking us to hand over patients into busy hospitals.

“We are working closely with NHS partners to address these delays, so our crews can get back out on the road for other patients. However, even with the additional resources we are making available, the number of ambulances currently waiting for prolonged periods of time at Emergency Departments inevitably impacts on our ability to respond to patients.”

The ambulance finally arrived at 3pm

The elderly woman fell at her home in Brixham at 6.45am on Tuesday February 15. She had a pendant alarm around her neck which she set off to call for help and an ambulance was summoned at 6.50am.