Hour-long wait for ambulance

APOLOGIES have been given to an elderly Gainsborough lady after she had to wait for over an hour for an ambulance to arrive.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th September 2012, 8:00 am

The lady lost her footing and received facial injuries.

A neighbour called 999 at around 10.45am on 19th September and it took over an hour for the ambulance to arrive on the scene in Torr Street.

That neighbour was Torr Street resident Neil Foottit, with assistance from friend Stephen Golland.

“This old lady was passing by as I was coming out of my house with my son,” said Neil. “I said ‘good morning’ to her and turned to lock my door, then I turned around and saw that she was on the floor.”

Neil continued: “I went across to see if she was OK and saw that she was bleeding profusely from the mouth. I asked my son to go get some tissues then I called 999 and sat there supporting her because she was in shock.”

Although a LIVES responder arrived on the scene in the meantime, it took over an hour for an ambulance to arrive and take the lady to hospital.

“I can’t believe it took so long to get there,” said Neil. “It really isn’t good enough.

East Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Phil Milligan responded by saying: “I would like to offer my apologies for the distress the woman experienced whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.”

“The emergency call was categorized as requiring an ambulance but not as an immediately life-threatening response because the caller reported the woman to be breathing and conscious. Life-threatening calls are for patients who are in cardiac arrest, bleeding severely or are unconscious etc.”

He continued: “Our aim is always to get to the patient as quickly as possible. We dispatched an ambulance and a LIVES responder, who was in the vicinity of the incident and therefore able to get there within seven minutes of the call being picked up to provide care while the ambulance travelled to the scene.”

Phil added: “Unfortunately the first ambulance on-route had to be diverted to a patient who was reported to be in an immediately life-threatening condition.

“We dispatched the next available ambulance and it arrived on scene 57 minutes after the LIVES responder.”

This incident comes in the wake of official consultations regarding the closure of local ambulance stations.

Gainsborough Ambulance Station could be under threat of closure, under radical plans to change the way EMAS operates.

Ambulance stations across the region, including the Miller Road station on Corringham Road Industrial Estate, could be closed under plans outlined in the Estate Strategy. Phil Milligan said the Trust needs to look at new ways of working following a ‘significant’ increase in the number of emergency calls.

“This has resulted in most calls being responded to by ambulance crews already out on the road. For the majority of the day our stations are empty,” he said. “In light of this we are looking at having fewer ambulance stations but there will be better facilities at each so we can be sure each ambulance is clean, well maintained and fully stocked at the start of each shift.”

A full three month public consultation began this month. These will feed into the final plan that will go to the January 2013 EMAS Trust Board. For information or to have your say you can visit www.emas.nhs.uk/about-us/trust-board.