Couple’s anger at ambulance delay

A SICK woman who had a seizure lay freezing on the street for the best part of an hour waiting for an ambulance.

Monday, 12th November 2012, 12:50 pm

Now her husband has joined calls for East Midlands Ambulance Service to re-think its plans to close Worksop and Retford Ambulance Stations.

George and Marian Bowskill, of Highfield Villas, Costhorpe, were returning to their car on Monday after an appointment in Worksop.

Marian, 51, uses a wheelchair after a stroke last December. But the seizure this week was completely out of the blue.

“It was extremely distressing because it has never happened before,” said George, 54.

George called 999 and passers by helped him get Marian out of her wheelchair and onto the floor.

A fast response paramedic arrived soon afterwards and began to help Marian. But the ambulance was nowhere to be seen.

“The paramedic was marvellous and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his diligence and professionalism,” said George, who works full time and also cares for his wife.

But George said what happened in the next 30 minutes was a ‘travesty’ which could have cost Marian her life.

George said he was told an ambulance was 15 minutes away, travelling from Mansfield. But it didn’t arrive and another one was dispatched from Retford.

All this time, Marian was still on the freezing floor, with other people’s coats keeping her warm.

“I do not know their names but their kindness will live with me,” said George.

He described Marian as ‘out cold’, and said she has no recollection of what happened. “I thought I had lost her,” he said.

George said the ambulance finally arrived 40 minutes after the original 999 call and Marian was taken to Bassetlaw Hospital. She was kept in over night for tests and is now recovering at home.

Said George: “This travesty had my wife laid out on the icy cold concrete for about 45 minutes.”

“Luckily she has recovered, but if it had been a heart attack or stroke it could have been fatal.”

George said he would be lodging a formal complaint about the response time they experienced.

“I have no criticism of the paramedics, who were fantastic, but it’s the bean counters who simply look at the pounds and not the adverse and possibly fatal results of closing facilities like Worksop.”

“Why is the discussion being made to close the ambulance station in Worksop when even now we are looking at response times in excess of 30 minutes?”

A spokesperson for EMAS said: “Our records show the 999 call was received at 3.29pm and was correctly categorised as a life-threatening incident. We immediately activated a fast response paramedic who arrived on scene seven minutes later, within the performance target.”

“On arrival, the paramedic began providing life-saving treatment and at 3.43pm requested a back-up double crew ambulance.”

“We immediately activated the nearest available vehicle but whist it was travelling to the scene, an ambulance that was closer to Worksop became clear. In accordance with normal procedures, we activated this vehicle because it would arrive faster than the first vehicle (which was stood down). The second vehicle arrived at 4.06pm. Treatment continued throughout the journey to hospital.”