DCSIMG

‘I thought I would perish’

Mrs Joan Smith fell in the garden of her bungalow on Boxing Day and had to wait 90 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.  Mrs Smith is pictured with her husband Rowland (w130104-3a)

Mrs Joan Smith fell in the garden of her bungalow on Boxing Day and had to wait 90 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Mrs Smith is pictured with her husband Rowland (w130104-3a)

An elderly woman says she waited for over an hour for an ambulance after collapsing in her back yard on Boxing Day.

June Smith, 85, of Larwood Avenue, needed medical attention after she fell to the ground because of a knee injury.

Her husband Rowland raised the alarm and a warden arrived in 15 minutes.

But she was not trained to lift June, so dialed 999 for an ambulance at 11.12am, which East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) claims arrived 41 minutes later.

Said June: “That time on the floor in the cold seemed like half a day, I even wondered if anyone was going to turn up. It felt like I was left to perish.”

June and her husband are disabled and used to be visited every two weeks by a warden, but in 2011 the service was cut.

She is concerned that further cut backs to the health service are leading to the elderly being abandoned when they need help.

“The cutbacks are wrong. How can they leave anybody for that length of time in the cold?” she said.

“I was desperate to get off that cold floor. It was a disgrace and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

EMAS chief executive Phil Milligan said: “I am sorry for the distress and anxiety experienced by Mrs Smith, her husband and the warden who were with her at the time.

“Mrs Smith was assessed and treated at her home by our skilled clinician.”

EMAS bosses said they received 587 more calls than average on 26th December and responded to 2,587 calls, and they are consulting with staff and the public later this month to reduce response times.

A1 Housing director of strategy and change, Joice Rennie, said this week: “We sympathise with Mrs Smith and her unfortunate experience, however A1 Housing wardens are not medically qualified.”

“To protect both the warden and service users, we have instructed our staff not to lift in situations such as these.”

Joice said in April 2012, 11 warden posts were cut due to a ‘dramatic’ reduction in funding which means that visits to the elderly are every 12 weeks.

 

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