Upset as Wigan pensioner waits hours for an ambulance after fall
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The 88-year-old fell in the road in Parbold on November 5 and suffered a head wound, so a 999 call was made shortly after 2.10pm.
Members of the public and a GP helped to look after the man as he lay in the road in the rain waiting for an ambulance.
Another 999 call was made just before 4.15pm and it is understood North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) raised the importance of the incident from category three to two, meaning it would receive a quicker response.
But several worried people contacted MP Rosie Cooper’s office at 4.30pm and the ambulance was cancelled just before 4.50pm, after it was decided that a neighbour would take the man to hospital for treatment instead of continuing to wait.
The incident has upset the West Lancashire MP, who tried to intervene when she heard how long the man had been waiting for help.
She said: “I have been complaining for some time about the failures of NWAS and this is just the latest disaster.
“When my office tried to raise the alarm to speed things up, the chief executive’s office just told us to call 999 again. God knows if an ambulance was ever going to turn up.
“I had to phone the North West director for NHS England and Improvement, and I am grateful that a local GP was able to help this man.
“But between that and him being taken to hospital with a nasty head wound by a neighbour, I am left wondering if we are at the bottom of the barrel. Can the ‘Not Working Ambulance Service’ get any worse? It is failing my constituents.
“I have raised this with the Secretary of State for Health as a matter of urgency. I have told the Government time and time again that the service needs more resources and manpower.
“We appear to be constantly living in ‘unprecedented times’ and told to expect and forgive poor service. But there is no longer anything unprecedented about this. We have known the service is on its knees for over a year and nothing has been done.
“It is the duty of the Secretary of State and the Government to provide a responsive and reliable service. I hold them equally responsible for this disaster.”
It is understood the call was initially graded as a category three incident, which would receive a response within two hours nine times out of 10.
After the second call, that was changed to category two, where an ambulance arrives in an average time of 18 minutes and within 40 minutes nine times out of 10.
A North West Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Our ambulance crews and emergency call handlers are working to ensure that everyone who needs an ambulance gets one.
However, we are extremely busy at the moment, handling just over 5,000 emergency calls per day. This means that, unfortunately, some patients, particularly those with non-life-threatening conditions, are waiting longer than we would like.
“We hope the patient makes a full recovery and invite him to contact our patient safety team if he would like us to look into this further.
“We have also invited Ms Cooper to meet with our chief executive Daren Mochrie about the incident.”
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