"Call for ambulance after my wife fell"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

At 19. 45 hours on 29 December my wife an 80 year old with Parkinson’s and taking Warfarin fell heavily in our hallway, hitting her head on a shoe cabinet and then on the hard floor. We called 999 and explained the situation. We were told an ambulance would arrive but no ETA could be given. We were given detailed instructions and these were followed.

After 50 minutes, I called again and was told we could still not be given an ETA. All this time my wife had been left lying on a hard cold floor.

60 minutes after the initial call a paramedic team arrived in an ambulance car. They assessed by wife and confirmed to your control centre that she needed to be taken to hospital. I understand that they were told no ETA could yet be given. It was over 2 hours later that an ambulance finally arrived and my wife left for GWH shortly after 11 pm.

Your paramedics did manage to get her on her feet after about 2 hours because she was in urgent need of the toilet and she was made comfortable while she waited for the ambulance. The initial team had to stay with us until the ambulance arrived in case my wife’s condition worsened and that meant that they were unable to respond to other calls until the ambulance finally arrived.

I am shocked that it took over three hours for an ambulance to attend. Fortunately the CT scan carried out at GWH showed no signs of internal bleeding, but had there been so, the consequences of such a long delay could have been very serious indeed.

Not only is the delay unacceptable to me, but the fact that no on appeared to have any idea of when an ambulance would turn up added considerably to our stress.

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Responses

Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Good Afternoon Tony of Devizes,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I hope your wife is feeling better now.

I'm sorry to hear that there was a long wait for an ambulance to arrive. It would be difficult for me to comment on the possible reasons for the delay without some more specific information from you.

If you would like us to look into the specific events concerning your experience, we would be very happy to do so but we will need some detailed information to enable us to do this. Please may I ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team on either swast.patientexperience@nhs.net or 01392 261 58501392 261 585 and a member of the team will take you through the next steps of the process.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide our service with feedback.

Sara

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