Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Anger over woman’s wait for ambulance after accident in Carlisle

An elderly woman was left bleeding and “shivering in the street” waiting for an ambulance – despite being just minutes from a hospital.

Paul Watson photo
Paul Watson was one of the people who stopped to help the woman

Paul Watson, of Wigton Road, Carlisle, was one of the kind-hearted members of the public who stopped to help the elderly woman on Tuesday afternoon.

“I was walking home along Silloth Street at about 5pm, when I saw an old woman with blood all over head,” the 46-year-old recalled. “I recognised the old lady, as she sometimes sits on the wall outside my house to catch her breath when she’s walking and we say hello to each other.”

Mr Watson said another member of the public had already phoned for an ambulance a few minutes earlier, so they all sat and waited.

He continued: “Another guy gave her his coat, and then a woman came out and put a quilt over her.

“They kept her sitting there, shivering in the street.”

After a while, Mr Watson said they were concerned about the woman and called again for the ambulance.

“We asked if we could put her in a vehicle and take her to hospital ourselves because she was cold and shivering,” he explained, “and they told us not to move her.

“It is pathetic considering the hospital is just over the road.”

Mr Watson believes they were kept waiting for “at least 45 minutes”, but the North West Ambulance Service disputed these timings.

It said that when a 999 call is received, the level of response is determined by the patient’s condition.

A spokeswoman said: “We prioritise all calls to ensure that those patients whose lives could be in danger are responded to as quickly as possible.

“With any 999 call we always instruct the caller to call back should a patient’s condition deteriorate so that we can reprioritise the call if necessary.

“In this case, 15 minutes after the initial call, we were told that the patient’s condition was worsening and subsequently the incident was upgraded and an ambulance was on the scene 11 minutes later.”

She continued: “We appreciate that waiting for an ambulance can be a distressing time for both patients and bystanders and time can seem to pass more slowly in these situations.

“The trust offers its sincere apologies for any distress that was caused for this patient, and those who came to their aid, while waiting for an ambulance.”


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