Pen­sioner’s anger at re­sponse to 999 call

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By KEN MCER­LAIN ken.mcer­lain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Etken­m­cer­lain

A PEN­SIONER has re­acted an­grily af­ter be­ing told she would have to wait for an am­bu­lance as her hus­band screamed in agony with a bro­ken hip.

Ann Sk­il­ton (72) of Saxby Gar­dens, Wel­land, was so an­gered af­ter be­ing told to wait for an as­ses­sor to call her back af­ter her hus­band Tony (75) fell on the stairs, that she took mat­ters into her own hands and drove him to hospi­tal – but only af­ter neigh­bours helped to carry him to her car.

Mrs Sk­il­ton says she was told to wait be­cause four or five peo­ple were ahead of her in a queue and that the op­er­a­tor did not know how long this would take.

The East of Eng­land Am­bu­lance Ser­vice has said that, with hind­sight, had the op­er­a­tor been told a pa­tient had a sus­pected frac­tured hip, it would have prompted an im­me­di­ate am­bu­lance re­sponse.

As it was, Mrs Sk­il­ton’s call was clas­si­fied as a “call-back” in­ci­dent be­cause it didn’t sound life-threat­en­ing.

Mrs Sk­il­ton said that had it not been for the help­ful­ness of her neigh­bours, there could have been se­ri­ous con­se­quences for her hus­band, who also has arthri­tis, blad­der can­cer and has pre­vi­ously suf­fered a stroke.

Mrs Sk­il­ton, who has four chil­dren, nine grand­chil­dren and two great grand­chil­dren, said: “The bot­tom line is that some­one could die next time.

“I was telling the op­er­a­tor that my hus­band was scream­ing in agony.

“Any­one would re­alise this was se­ri­ous and I don’t think it’s right to as­sess some­one over the phone any­way, that should be done in per­son.

“I’m not hav­ing a go at the paramedics but rather the in­di­vid­ual who an­swered this call, surely com­mon sense should pre­vail in these sit­u­a­tions?”

Re­call­ing the in­ci­dent, she said: “I heard my hus­band fall go­ing up the stairs and I heard a crack as he landed.

“He was scream­ing in pain and shiv­er­ing.

“I called for an am­bu­lance and told the op­er­a­tor that I thought my hus­band had se­ri­ously in­jured his back or his knee.

“I was told I would have to wait for a nurse to as­sess him over the phone as four or five peo­ple were ahead of me in a queue but the op­er­a­tor didn’t know how long this would take. For all I knew I could have been wait­ing all day and I sim­ply had to act.”

Mrs Sk­il­ton’s neigh­bours Doreen Wil­son and her two sons Adrian and Carl helped to carry Mr Sk­il­ton into his car and Mrs Sk­il­ton drove him to Peter­bor­ough City Hospi­tal.

He is cur­rently re­cov­er­ing there af­ter un­der­go­ing a hip op­er­a­tion and should be al­lowed home next week.

A spokes­woman for the am­bu­lance ser­vice said: “If the caller had told us the pa­tient had a bro­ken hip the call would have been treated as a top pri­or­ity re­sponse.

“In hind­sight we would have sent an am­bu­lance, but the in­for­ma­tion we were given in­di­cated a lesser in­jury.

“Based on all the in­for­ma­tion given by the caller, that her hus­band had tripped up the first step of the stairs 45 min­utes to an hour pre­vi­ously and hurt his knee but was stand­ing, fully alert and breath­ing fine, the in­ci­dent was cor­rectly as­signed a call­back for fur­ther as­sess­ment from a nurse to en­sure the cor­rect re­sponse so that life-threat­ened pa­tients could be given the pri­or­ity they need.

“When the call-back process was be­ing ex­plained to her how­ever the caller said she would take her hus­band to A&E her­self.”

It is the third time in the last two months that the ET has re­ported a com­plaint af­ter a pa­tient had to wait for an am­bu­lance or call-back. Spe­cial May Deals di­rect from Cam­bridge Air­port

pp Satur­day depar­tures

12, 19 &26May

FU­RI­OUS: Tony Sk­il­ton was told to wait for a call from a nurse af­ter break­ing his hip.

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