Angry patients slam ambulance responses

AMBULANCE services have come under fire from two dissatisfied patients who were left waiting in excruciating pain for as long as five hours before collection.

Ralph Hambridge and Jonathan Smith both felt compelled to publicise their own ‘appalling experiences’ after hearing of a county councillor’s criticism of the service and her aspirations for a dedicated Lincolnshire based organisation.

As reported in the Standard (May 9), Coun Christine Talbot, chairman of Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, had raised concerns about East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) response times and felt ‘the 700,000 of Lincolnshire deserve better’.

Both men shared Coun Talbot’s sentiments, having experienced first-hand a series of ‘woeful’ delays and unsatisfactory responses.

Sloothy resident Ralph, 61, was left waiting for approximately five and a quarter hours from when he first dialled 111 until an ambulance eventually arrived, despite bleeding dangerously following an operation. He said: “I was appalled by the service - I’d just had two heart operations and this was a reaction. I had been told by doctors to get to an A&E as soon as possible if it started to bleed but 111 and the ambulance service both let me down.

“I don’t think it will be long before someone will die and unfortunately it might even take something like that before anything is done about it.”

Although Ralph claims EMAS is ‘woefully inadequate’ he is supportive of the paramedics believing it to be the system that is at fault and unable to cope with the vast territory under its control.

Just days later Burgh-le-Marsh resident Jonathan, 58, expressed similar criticisms having been left waiting in ‘excruciating pain’ for longer than his call’s target response time.

Having been diagnosed with a weakness in the arteries, Jonathan feared the pain could indicate a stomach aneurysm and was disappointed to hear it had been allocated a ‘green’ priority 30 minute call-out.

After his condition began to deteriorate his wife called back and the case was prioritised more highly but it was still 43 minutes before the ambulance arrived.

“I think it’s diabolical,” he said.

MP for Boston and Skegness Mark Simmonds has discussed the local concerns with EMAS and the need for improvement.