LAST Friday at just before 5pm my 91-year-old neighbour fell on the concrete path in her front garden seriously injuring her hip.
We later discovered it was broken. She was unable to move and in severe pain. We rang for an ambulance immediately but despite making three follow up phone calls it took two hours to arrive, during which her condition obviously worsened.
I cannot praise the ambulance crew enough, they were terrific and as upset about the totally unacceptable delay as we were. To reach us they had to come from many miles away.
We have sent a formal complaint to the ambulance HQ in Manchester but really don’t expect anything to change other than a formal expression of regret and some words about the high percentage of responses they make within their target time, whatever that is.
However, it is the disgrace of running a service that results in deplorable cases such as this that should occupy the minds of the managers there. Unfortunately this is not an isolated instance – a similar unacceptable delay in reaching a seriously ill person in a nearby street only occurred a few weeks ago. When we hear politicians and senior managers in the health service boast about efficiency savings we need to remember they are not talking about minor trimming of excess fat within budgets but about a real reduction of service quality to you and me because staff are reduced with the result that there are fewer options to respond to serious incidents.
The end results – such as in this case – are clear to see. Rather than these decisions being taken behind closed doors the public should be given a clear statement of the consequences of proposed savings and cuts so that they can decide whether the proposed course of action is correct, rather than having an unacceptable change imposed.