"A broken leg, and a long wait for pain relief"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a friend),

At about 14:30 in early October 2013 our neighbour slipped on grass in the garden and broke her leg just above the ankle. It took her a while to attract our attention whereupon we immediately called for an ambulance on 999.

After a reasonable assessment of the emergency on the phone, we were assured that an ambulance would be dispatched. Some 45 minutes later the ambulance arrived, with the crew complaining that they had got lost in Newton Ferrers and that their Sat Nav system was inadequate for them to find our house. All of this time our neighbour was in very considerable pain and begged for relief.

The crew offered her a gas and air system which took quite a while to put together and then didn't work very well at all. When we all asked whether more effective relief was available the crew told us that they were both trainee Paramedics and as such couldn't administer drugs. They made no attempt to splint her or move her; and also left the ambulance up on the road about 100 yards away because they felt they couldn't get down the house drive.

At about this time they decided to call for another fully trained Paramedic who arrived after approximately another 40 minutes from a case in Mothercombe. Our neighbour had by this time experienced a very considerable period without effective pain relief and was understandably beside herself. The Paramedic arrived by car which was of course far better suited to the Devon lanes in our area than the full size ambulance that was initially dispatched.

The Paramedic then took charge and did a fine job in every way although it was still quite a time before the patient was finally taken to the ambulance.

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

Dear Garden accident

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback - I hope that your neighbour is recovering well.

I am very sorry that your experience of our service was not what you had anticipated. We would welcome the opportunity to look into the events surrounding the ambulance attendance for your neighbour, however in order to do this we will need some specific information regarding dates and times. May I ask you to contact our Patient Experience team on either 01392 261 585 or SWAST.patientexperience.nhs.net at your convenience and a member of the team will be happy to help you.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to share your story.


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