Mum forced to wait 10 hours for ambulance

A MAN is calling for a major review of the ambulance service after his mother waited 10 hours to be taken to hospital for treatment.

John Dean has complained to East Midlands Ambulance Service after his mother Mary did not arrive at Peterborough District Hospital until 10.45pm on Tuesday last week, 10 hours after a home visit from a GP.

A doctor decided to send Mrs Dean, of Irnham Road, Stamford, to hospital on an non-emergency call out after she suffered from leg pains. The doctor registered the non-emergency call at 1.59pm.

Ambulances are required to deal with non-emergency call outs within four hours.

The service has apologised for Mrs Dean's wait but said that its crews were busy responding to more serious calls.

Sadly Mrs Dean suffered from respiratory problems and died in hospital yesterday morning.

Mr Dean, who quit his job as a paramedic in 2006 after becoming disillusioned, feels the service is more interested in meeting targets than looking after patients.

He said: "I am disgusted about the wait as is everyone I have spoken to.

"They are hell-bent on clock stoppers because of government targets. They would rather get vehicles to stop the clock to meet targets."

At 5pm Mr Dean, who waited with his mother, called the doctor's surgery who asked him to call back at 6.05pm when the four-hour deadline had passed. He did this and the medical centre contacted ambulance control.

He received a call from control on 6.20pm to apologise and was assured an ambulance would be sent when one was available. But at 7.50pm when the ambulance had still not arrived he reluctantly called 999 to find out what was happening. Fifteen minutes later a first responder arrived who found out that an ambulance from Spalding was on its way. Ten minutes later a double crewed NHS community response unit, which is not capable of transporting patients, arrived. It was not until 9.50pm that a double crewed ambulance arrived to take his mother to hospital.

Mr Dean, of Foxley Court, Bourne, said he was not complaining about the staff who attended his mother but he has e-mailed the ambulance trust to oiutline his concerns.

"This is a serious complaint against the appalling state of our ambulance services in this country, because I know they are all in the same state, which seriously needs a review as this has been going on for years," he said.

A spokesman for the service said that an initial examination of the call showed that crews were busy and it did not have a non-emergency ambulance available to send within the four hour limit.

She said: "We accept that the level of response to the patient and their family was below what we aim to provide, and our initial examination of this call has highlighted that the patient should not have experienced such a delay in transportation to hospital."