AMBULANCE response times have been heavily criticised by the family of an elderly man who was left waiting on a cold pavement for an hour and a half after falling and suffering a suspected fractured leg.
Skegness pensioner Ron Hutchinson, 78, was walking along Roman Bank on Thursday afternoon when he tripped on a paving slab and hit his head.
A nearby business called 999 but despite the patient’s age and evident distress, it took 90 minutes before an ambulance took him to Boston Pilgrim Hospital for treatment.
His son Neil Hutchinson was informed of the accident and rushed from his place of work in Wainfleet to comfort his father until paramedics arrived.
Neil was ‘shocked’ and ‘disgusted’ by the ambulance service’s slow response, which left his father ‘shivering and shaking’ on the floor in ‘severe pain’.
He said: “It’s shocking, it may not have been a life-threatening injury but my dad was in severe pain shivering and shaking on the cold floor.
“I felt absolutely helpless, I tried to talk to him to calm him down and reassure him that the ambulance was on its way but all I was doing was lying to him.”
Fortunately for Ron, several passing firefighters noticed him lying on the floor and stopped to keep him warm with a blanket and supply him with oxygen while he waited.
Neil has expressed his immense gratitude to the firefighters for assisting his father during his time of need, without whom, he fears the situation could have been even worse. When the ambulance eventually arrived, Ron was taken to Boston Pilgrim Hospital where he was kept in over the weekend with a suspected fractured thigh.
He had also suffered extensive cuts and bruising to the left side of his body during the fall.
Neil was told by hospital staff that it had been one of the busiest days they had seen in their careers.
Although this went some way towards explaining the delays, Neil felt the service should have had adequate cover to maintain a reasonable service even during such busy times.
East Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive Phil Milligan, just prior to the Standard going to print, said: “I would like to offer my apologies for the distress Mr Hutchinson experienced whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive after he fell and hurt himself in Skegness.
“Our aim is always to get to patients as quickly as possible but unfortunately, at the time the call was received, all our ambulances were busy dealing with immediately life-threatening emergencies.
“The first vehicle we were able to despatch arrived on scene 86 minutes after the call was received.”