Backed-up ambulances see long wait for help

Ambulances queuing at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
Ambulances queuing at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

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A CYCLIST had to wait more than an hour for help due to backed-up ambulances after she fell off her bike and hurt her ankle.

The rider, believed to be a 60-year old woman, was cycling along Longfield Avenue, in Fareham, near the entrance to HMS Collingwood, when she fell off her bike at 9.40pm on Monday night.

Tony Tondeur saw the incident happen and was the first to stop. He said: ‘I saw a lady fall off her bike and moved her out the road and helped her into the paramedic’s vehicle. From the first 999 call to arrival was approximately one hour.

‘We did phone the emergency services back explaining a 60-year-old woman had been sitting on the floor for some time and they were prompt to arrive after that. But it’s not great.’ He said that a crowd of people gathered around her to try to help.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: ‘We were called at 9.41pm to a cyclist who had fallen off her bike and suffered ankle injuries.

‘We sent a rapid-response vehicle.

‘The cyclist was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital with minor injuries.’

The woman was taken to hospital at 10.42pm.

The spokesman said there were 12 ambulances queuing at the hospital at the time of the incident which ‘impacted their ability to respond’.

He said the call had been treated as a minor injury, meaning they should respond within 30 minutes.

A new pilot scheme, which sees Scas use taxis instead of ambulances in times of high demand, could not be implemented in this case as it had been termed as a road traffic collision, which is an exempt situation, despite no other vehicle being involved.

To use the taxi service, patients also need to have been assessed by a paramedic or nurse first, which had not happened in this case.

The Scas spokesman said: ‘The paramedic in the rapid-response vehicle, realising there would be a potential long wait for an ambulance, determined that the patient was well enough to be transported in her car rather than wait for an assessment or back-up ambulance.’