Joan, 92, waited two hours for ambulance
- Credit: Barbara Spiller
The family of a 92 year-old Exmouth woman have spoken out after she endured two hours lying on a cold pavement waiting for an ambulance.
On Monday, January 29, Chris and Barbara Spiller were walking in Magnolia Parade, when they noticed two police officers and members of the public gathered around someone lying on the ground.
They were horrified to discover it was Mrs Spiller’s mum, Joan Albury, covered with blankets and coats, after falling face down, bumping her head and hurting her hand.
But their initial shock turned to frustration, as she was forced to stay in this position while waiting for an ambulance, which was called at 11.50am, but did not arrive until 2pm.
In a post on Facebook’s Exmouth Community group Mr Spiller said: “After an hour there had been no sign of either an ambulance or paramedic.
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“It was a full two hours of this 92 year-old lady having to lie on a cold, windy corner, on the pavement, before assistance from an ambulance crew attended.”
Those caring for Mrs Albury did not want to move her, in case of hidden injuries, and Mrs Spiller said her mum ‘kept wanting to get up’, adding, “I felt so sorry for Mum, on the cold floor.”
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But despite the long wait, her family said they did not want to criticise emergency services staff – but instead said more money in general was needed to properly fund the NHS.
Mr Spiller said: “It’s not their fault – they are under an awful lot of pressure. The fact is that the whole NHS and emergency services are under funded.
“You just hope that people in high places are looking at what goes onto social media. This could be your elderly mother or relative.
“With ambulances being called to different areas it can leave us quite vacant - without question it would be nice to know there were more trained staff.
“In some areas you get first responders – could they be somehow pulled into the system?”
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said: “SWASFT would like to apologise that we were unable to reach this lady more quickly.”
However, he explained managing demand on the ambulance service across the South West could be ‘very challenging’.
“We must prioritise our responses and our ambulance resources according to clinical need. Our most poorly patients receive the most urgent response – such as those in cardiac arrest or having a stroke.
“Sometimes this means that less poorly patients do not get the response that we would wish,” said the SWASFT spokesman.
The Spillers have reported Mrs Albury is recovering well and luckily did not have any broken bones, but was in ‘a little bit of shock, shaken and bruised’.
They thanked all of the local people and businesses who rallied around to help, including Mountain Warehouse and a nearby charity shop, which provided blankets.
Mr Spiller said: “Somebody brought a chair for my wife and someone brought coffee. There were two young lads who took off their coats for her.”
The couple commended a police constable and PCSO, who both stayed with Mrs Albury through the the whole ordeal and ‘helped in every way they could’.