Stone Cross pensioner waits hours for ambulance after hip fracture

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An 88-year-old man who fell over and fractured his hip waited two and a half hours for an ambulance.

Gill Thomas, from Stone Cross, said her father tripped over a kerb and fractured his hip outside the village hall on March 24 at 9.15pm.

Members of the amateur dramatics group The Haven Players called for an ambulance.

In a letter to the Eastbourne Herald, Ms Thomas said: “It was windy and raining hard and very cold so these kind people found blankets and umbrellas to shelter my father and try to keep him warm and dry.

“They all stood there, with a first response emergency nurse, getting wet and cold themselves for over two and a half hours before the ambulance eventually arrived. It had to come from Haywards Heath, over 30 miles away.

“The emergency nurse and ambulance crew who attended were brilliant and did all they could to help my father – but how can they respond to emergency situations promptly when they are so short of manpower and resources?”

She also thanked the members of The Haven Players for their help.

Ms Thomas said paramedics had to take her father to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings – 18 miles away – because Eastbourne DGH does not take orthopaedic emergencies,

She added: “This in itself is ridiculous with the ever-growing population in this area.

“If it had not been for the kindness of the members of The Haven Players, my father who was already suffering from shock and in great pain would most certainly have developed hypothermia which is dangerous for anyone but especially a man of his age.”

Ms Thomas said her father has now had a hip replacement and is recovering.

However, she said ‘wonderful, skilled people’ in the NHS and ambulance service are being put under ‘such great pressure’ when trying to do their jobs.

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “We are very sorry that we were unable to respond to this call in a timely manner.

“We appreciate the distress the wait will have caused but we have a duty to prioritise life-threatening calls with the resources available to us at the time.

“As this call was categorised as a non life-threatening emergency, such calls will unfortunately sometimes receive a longer response than normal particularly when we are faced with extremely high demand and significant delays at hospitals.

“We are sorry the level of service received did not meet the standards we expect and would be happy to discuss the matter directly with the patient or their family directly.

People are advised to call 999 only in an emergency. Call 111 if you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service or you need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

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