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South Witham woman, 85, waits five hours for ambulance after breaking hip

An 85-year-old woman was left lying on her doorstep for five hours while waiting for an ambulance after falling and breaking her hip.

The woman, who asked not to be named, was in her garden in South Witham when she lost her footing and fell on Tuesday morning. She managed to shuffle to her doorstep before calling for help from her neighbours.

As she was in too much pain to move, they covered her with blankets and phoned for an ambulance.

The woman’s daughter arrived shortly afterwards and when the ambulance had still not arrived an hour later, she phoned for help again.

She said: “They explained that they were dealing with a high volume of calls and that one would be arriving shortly. When one still hadn’t arrived after about an hour, I called again and was told that one had been on its way but it had to be redirected to an emergency.

“I completely understand this happens but Mum had already been waiting for several hours at this point and was crying out in pain.”

Worried that her mum would catch hyperthermia, she phoned her GP, who tried to track down the ambulance himself.

“The GP actually came to the house to see if he could help. They told him that one would be arriving any minute, so after checking mum over, he returned to his surgery and we carried on waitinng.

“When it was obvious that one wasn’t arriving and with Mum struggling to cope with the pain, I was left with little choice but to call them again. This time, they claimed not to know when it was going to arrive.”

Five hours after first calling for help, an ambulance finally arrived just after 4pm and the elderly woman was taken to Grantham Hospital with a suspected broken hip.

Her daughter is worried about it happening again.

“My mum broke her arm and shoulder last year and spent a lot of time in hospital,” she said.

“I dont blame the paramedics or the hospital but something needs to change. You simply can’t leave an 85-year-old lady lying on the ground in pain for five hours.”

Deputy director of operations for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Ben Holdaway said: “We are very sorry to the patient and her family that we were unable to get help to them sooner.

“Whilst every attempt was made to see the patient as quickly as possible, at the time of the call we were dealing with a high number of life-threatening emergencies (unconscious and not breathing) who needed our help within minutes.

“We, like other NHS organisations, are continuing to see an increase in the number of patients accessing our service.

“Our priority is to ensure we provide a safe quality service to the people of the East Midlands.

“Together with our clinical commissioning groups (the people who fund our service) we recognise that there is a financial and resourcing challenge.

“An independent review is ongoing to look at what resources (staff and vehicles) we need to meet the increasing demand on our service.”

n Have you had a similar experience? Get in touch by calling 01476 541431 or email comment@granthamjournal.co.uk


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