"Unacceptable waiting time"

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

(as a relative),

My father fell during the day and was lying on the floor until the late afternoon / early evening when I went to see him. Unfortunately I did not have keys to my father’s house so I called the police and asked for an ambulance at the same time. This was at about 5: 30. The police and a paramedic arrived very quickly and were absolutely fantastic – very calm and reassuring.

The paramedic was reluctant to move my father and requested an ambulance. It took 4 hours for an ambulance to arrive to attend to an elderly gentleman who had been on the floor for most of the day. This was not acceptable.

The paramedic stayed with us all the time, I could see he was not pleased that the ambulance was taking so long, he checked frequently to see where the ambulance was.

The ambulance finally arrived around 9:00 in the evening, my father was assessed by the ambulance crew and prepared to be taken to the Bath Hospital.

At 10:20 / 10:30 I called the hospital to check my father was OK. The nurse said he had not arrived at the hospital. She checked the A&E department in case my father was there but his details had not been put on the board, he definitely was not there.

I called 999 to speak to the controller to see if they could tell me where the ambulance with my father was. I was told that the last report they had from the crew was that they were at the address.

My father eventually arrived at the Bath hospital at 11:00 pm. I was told the ambulance crew had also picked up another patient after having collected my father – is this allowed? Is it right for the ambulance crew not to keep the controllers informed of their whereabouts?

My father did not sustain a serious injury as a result of the fall but his condition could have been much worse. I don’t think it’s acceptable that we were kept waiting for 4 hours and it’s less acceptable that another patient was picked up en route.

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

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Chat285

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I hope your father is recovering well after his fall.

I am sorry to hear that you both are unhappy with the length of time it took for an ambulance to arrive to you, and for it to arrive at the hospital. We would welcome the opportunity to look into this incident for you. Could you please contact our Patient Experience team, at your convenience, on 01392 261585 or email patientexperience@swast.nhs.uk. The team will be happy to investigate the circumstances surrounding this event.

Thank you again for providing feedback on our service.

Kind regards


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