"Excellent care from Exeter & District Ambulance Service - No 3203"

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

(as the patient),

Our 92 year old mother in-law (who is quite a large lady with numerous medical issues) fell at home and broke her leg. To make matters worse, she fell in an awkward place with very little room for manoeuvre. It took two crews, well over an hour to sedate her and tackle the job of moving her out of the house and in to the Ambulance. Through the whole of this process the crews were superb.

As can be imagined, she was in so much pain and every attempt to move her caused her great distress. One of the main problems was that they identified that they needed to straighten her leg before she could be moved, but action was prevented by the confinement of the situation and her pain. They tackled this difficult situation, however, in a calm manner with utmost professionalism. They sedated her, straightened her leg using a special device and eventually managed to lift and manoeuvre her out of the house and into the ambulance.

On behalf of my mother in-law and the family, I would very much like to thank and praise both crews for their work. They were a credit to themselves and the Ambulance Service. Thank you.

As a note of interest, I would like to bring one small point to the attention of the Ambulance Service about a piece of equipment. As mentioned, the crews used a piece of equipment to straighten her leg. Unfortunately the crew did have some problems with this equipment. Because of the confined space, they found it very difficult to fit on her leg. The main problem however was that the equipment is supplied with a vacuum pump. Unfortunately the pump on the first rig had snapped in half and totally broken. The second pump (from the second ambulance) did not work successfully and they eventually had to use a foot-pump that they found elsewhere. To my mind, there is a design problem with this equipment that needs to be evaluated. It did not detract however, form the work of the crew who worked their way around the problem. Well done to all!

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Response from Laura Martin, Patient Engagement Administrator, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Smithie

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I hope your mother-in-law is recovering well.

I am sorry to hear that the crews had problems with the pump for their vacuum splint. I am sure that they would have been frustrated with the faulty equipment, and would have reported it and replaced the offending item and their earliest opportunity. We will highlight your concerns to our Trusts Vehicle and Equipment Working Group, who are responsible for reviewing all of the equipment that our crews use.

I am glad to hear that you felt that our staff provided superb care to your mother-in-law.

I would like to pass your kind comments onto the ambulance crews who came to your mother-in-laws aid. Would you be able to contact me, laura.martin@swast.nhs.uk or call 01392 453831, at your convenience, with the date and address that the ambulance attended? This would allow me to identify the staff involved and ensure they are recognised for the care they gave.

Thank you again for providing feedback on our service.

Kind regards


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