Elderly Warwickshire woman waited three hours in cold for an ambulance after fall
AN elderly woman who had been injured in a fall was left waiting in the cold for three hours for an ambulance.
The woman, in her 70s, had fallen in Henley last Tuesday night (21st September).
Good Samaritan Perry Karlinski, from Stratford, discovered the woman, called Mary, lying on the ground in Doctor’s Lane around 10pm not far from her house.
“She had fallen over and because it was a quiet street nobody had helped,” Perry told the Herald. “I had come back from Coventry and went to my job in Henley when I saw her near a car park.
“I helped her and called for an ambulance but they said it would take three hours to get to her.
“I gave Mary my phone so she could talk to them.
“How can an elderly person be left alone on the street for more than three hours without help? She could have died.”
After an hour of waiting, Perry called the ambulance service again and, after going through all the details of the incident again, was told the waiting time would still be three hours.
Perry wrapped Mary in his jacket, gave her a cup of tea and helped her into his Mazda where they both waited for the ambulance.
“It was about 8C but it was cold and she was waiting in a street,” Perry added. “How can this happen? I helped her because she needed me. When the ambulance arrived I stayed a couple of minutes and then I got back after midnight. But why three hours for the ambulance?”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson the wait was due to pressure on the service.
“As a service we’ve been under extensive and sustained pressure during the last few months,” she said. “Nineteen of our 20 busiest days on record were experienced during June, July, August and September.
“When demand is high, it will take longer than we would want to get to patients for which we apologise. We are prioritising our sickest and most severely injured patients and our staff and volunteers continue to work tirelessly across the West Midlands to reach patients as quickly as possible.”
Concern has been raised that ambulance response times could be lengthened in the Stratford district should the ambulance service close its community ambulance stations – including Stratford.
A review of the stations is taking place, although the ambulance service has stressed response times would be unaffected. It said stations where an ambulance is based bares little relation to
where it will attend incidents each day and, in Stratford’s case,
the ambulance based in the town attends just five per cent of incidents locally.