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Injured pensioner waited 90 minutes for ambulance - because crew were sent on meal break

Ladder fall leaves old man with broken shoulder and wrist - but West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics go on meal break

Roy Parker who had to wait 90 minutes for an ambulance after a fall
Roy Parker who had to wait 90 minutes for an ambulance after a fall

A seriously injured pensioner waited nearly 90 minutes for an ambulance - because paramedics were on a meal break.

Roy Parker, aged 67, lay in pain after breaking his shoulder and wrist when he fell from a ladder at his home in Kingshurst, Solihull, on Thursday, February 26.

Roy’s neighbour called for an ambulance at just after 11.30am but paramedics did not arrive until shortly before 1pm.

The pensioner was treated at Heartlands Hospital where he had six pins fitted into his shoulder, seven in his wrist and clips in his elbow, which had been cut open.

Roy Parker
Roy Parker

In a letter to Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, West Midlands Ambulance Service apologised for the ‘error’ and admitted an ambulance should have gone but its crew was sent back on a ‘meal break.’

The letter said: “In summary we did have a vehicle to send but it was sent back for a meal break.

“Caroline, we can only apologise for this error and I know the chief has offered to write to the patient to apologise for our mistake.

“Clearly there was an error in handling the call and I am sorry for the distress this has caused. I hope you are reassured that a review is taking place into what happened.”

Roy’s wife, Dorothy, aged 69, said: “I arrived home about half an hour after his fall.

“My neighbour was with him she had wrapped a blanket around him. She thought he was going into shock.

“The paramedic had phoned him said they would be with him as soon as possible.

“After calling again the ambulance arrived – a total wait of one and a half hours.

“The paramedics were fantastic they could see how bad the injuries were, but it is deeply concerning that my husband was left in this state for so long.”

Roy Parker with his wife Dot
Roy Parker with his wife Dot

A West Midlands Ambulance spokesman said: “We would like to apologise for the length of time it took to get to Mr Parker, which is much longer than we would have hoped.

“The initial call suggested he had fallen about four feet and had hurt his arm and shoulder.

“At the time, we were dealing with a 25 per cent increase in 999 calls, many of which were of a more serious nature, such as cardiac arrests, strokes and breathing difficulties and we understandably prioritised these first.

“As well as being the law, it is right and proper that we give our crews a break.

“ Although this can sometimes be a difficult decision for our dispatchers, if we didn’t ensure they were returned to base, they would work throughout their 12 hour shift which would put lives at risk – both patients and our staff.

“This unfortunately means at times of very high demand, such as on this day, some patients did wait longer than we would have wanted.”

 

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