Pensioner, 89, waits 16 hours for ambulance following delays at A&E

AN 89-year-old woman has told of her despair at waiting in pain for 16 hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:45 am
Doreen Mayhew, 89, from Stubbington, had to wait 16 hours for an ambulance. Picture: Sarah Standing (161482-6405)

Doreen Mayhew fell ill with suspected gallstones and called her GP.

He told her to call an ambulance, which she did at 2pm on Monday, October 24.

But one did not turn up until the following morning at 6am.

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And to add insult to injury, Doreen then had to wait another two hours in the ambulance outside the A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

She said: ‘All weekend I had been unable to walk because I had really bad abdominal pain. I called my GP and arranged for a home visit. I wasn’t even able to make it to the surgery.

‘My doctor said I should call an ambulance and go to QA Hospital.’

Doreen, from Stubbington, first called South Central Ambulance Service at 2pm and told them her doctor had recommended an ambulance take her to hospital.

After waiting a few hours, she called back but the operator told her there were no ambulances in the area to come and get her.

‘They told me lots of vehicles were at QA Hospital waiting to transfer patients,’ she said.

‘I was told an ambulance would be sent as soon as possible.’

Doreen said she was unable to make her own way to A&E as her husband is 87 and cannot drive.

After calling again at 10pm and again at 2.30am on Tuesday, Doreen was told ambulances were still too busy.

She added: ‘I called them at 2.30am to tell them I was going to bed. They said I should keep an ear out for the front door in case the paramedics arrived.’

Two hours later, Doreen woke up and called the service.

After being told the same, she rang back at 5.40am and was told an ambulance would be sent out.

It eventually arrived at 6am, 16 hours after she initially rang.

But, when they arrived at QA Hospital she had to wait in the ambulance until 8am as A&E was too busy.

She said: ‘After waiting for 16 hours, I finally got to QA but had to just sit in the ambulance.

‘I was finally admitted to A&E at 8am and then seen by a consultant at 9am.

‘After checking me over, it was advised I went to my GP and ask them to keep an eye on my health.’

Despite her long wait, Doreen was pleased with the care she received and praised both the paramedics and the staff in A&E.

‘I am furious with the system,’ she said.

‘The staff work so hard and it is about time someone takes notice of what is happening.

‘The NHS does not deserve to have the staff it has.

‘The paramedics were fantastic, they were so brilliant. They deserve a medal for the pressure they work under.

‘I have nothing but praise for both them and the staff in the emergency department. They are angels.

‘It is not their fault they are in that situation and people from the government need to come down and see how hard the staff are working. They gave me the best possible care.’

As previously reported in The News, on Monday, October 24 ambulances were queuing to transfer patients at A&E with one patient left waiting seven hours in a vehicle.

Earlier in the month on October 1, Scas had to divert ambulances from QA for 90 minutes after an increase in demand in casualty.

Two weeks later, 94-year-old Ada Cox, from Landport, waited seven hours on a cold kitchen floor for an ambulance to arrive after she fell over on Saturday, October 15.

Ms Cox had to spend time in hospital after the fall for other health issues but luckily did not suffer any broken bones.

Her daughter Pauline Hogg said it was disgusting that an elderly lady with a number of health problems was left waiting for seven hours.

‘The first call to 999 was made at around 10.30am,’ Ms Hogg said.

‘But by the time the paramedics arrived and my mum was off the floor and in the ambulance, it was about 5.30pm.

‘It is disgusting that someone of her age had to lie on the floor for that long.’

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA Hospital, said an increase in attendances is behind the delays in transferring patients from ambulances.

‘The increase results in an extremely high demand on our emergency department and impacts on our ability to accommodate, in a timely fashion, all ambulance arrivals,’ she said.

‘We continue to work closely with our health and social partners across the healthcare system and with Scas.

‘We would urge people to choose well in their choice of healthcare.

‘This then allows our emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save a potential long wait.’

The trust is making changes in preparation for the winter months.

It has introduced new roles to see minor injury patients seen and assessed quickly, and to try to reduce the number of people needlessly in hospital beds, known as bed-blocking.