Fall victim, 87, waits and waits for ambulance

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An 87-year-old was made to wait more than an hour and a half for an ambulance after a fall.

And the passerby who helped him has spoken of his outrage about the delay.

A 999 call was made shortly before 2.30pm last Tuesday while Graham McFeeters looked after the pensioner in Bridle Way, Berkhamsted. Shortly afterwards a paramedic in a fast response car arrived.

He stemmed the blood that was coming from the bridge of the 87-year-old’s nose and the side of his right eye, put a bandage on his left wrist and checked his breathing.

The paramedic decided the patient needed further treatment and called for an ambulance, which did not arrive until just after 4pm.

Graham, of Cobb Road, said: “I was just so cross about it all.

“This poor chap is lying on the floor and because of health and safety they would not even sit him up in case anything else was damaged.

“I think it’s disgraceful.

“If someone is in a car crash a mile away, then obviously they have to go and sort them out first. But this paramedic said that because of cutbacks they have got hardly any ambulances now.”

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “The call was coded a ‘Green 2’ call, which is classed as serious but not life-threatening and requires a 30 minute response. The patient was fully conscious throughout and was being cared for by one of our trust clinicians until the arrival of the ambulance. A fast response car arrived at scene at 2.22pm, 26 minutes well within the required time.

“The patient suffered a minor injury and was taken by ambulance to the Hemel Hempstead Hospital Minor Injuries Unit.”

> The Trust has launched an online campaign to educate people on how 999 calls are handled and prioritised.

The Right Call campaign http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/the-right-call.htm will focus on how the ambulance service makes the right call for all its patients by correctly assessing and grading each one for the right response time.

This is so crews can get to patients with life-threatening conditions first so they aren’t put at risk.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust campaign will also prompt patients to ask themselves if they are making the right call in dialling 999.