"Long wait for ambulance"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

Earlier this week my 86 year old father went for a walk along the Riverside path in Bradford on Avon.

At around 8. 15pm on a sloping part of the path he tripped and fell, banging his head and breaking his left hip. Some passers by sat with him supporting his back and his leg. One of them, who happened to be a nurse, called 999 and requested an ambulance telling the controller that he was a nurse and suspected a broken hip. They then called me, and my wife and I went to the scene, arriving at 8. 45pm. After being briefed by the nurse how to support my father’s leg we took over and waited for the ambulance. At around 9pm another passer by decided to call 999 again and was assured that an ambulance was on its way.

At 9. 30pm it was getting dark and cold and a young man took over from me supporting my fathers leg so that I could call 999 again. I went through the situation and was told that as he was not bleeding or in danger from traffic and was conscious that it could not be classified as an emergency so an ambulance would be only sent when one became available. As we were only 200m from the Health Centre I decided to try and get an on call doctor, but the only number available was the 111 service. I went through it again with them and they were appalled and said that they would contact ambulance control directly.

Shortly after 10pm a Paramedic called Matt arrived in a car. He was very apologetic that as he was in a car he could only provide some pain relief and a blanket, but placed an urgent call for an ambulance with a stretcher for transport. He confirmed that in his opinion the hip was broken. By midnight Matt was getting quite concerned having made several more requests for an ambulance and tried to get his car close to the scene but it would not fit down the path.

By now my father had been lying by the river for over 4 hours, it was dark and cold, and there were rats running around us.

Matt then moved the car to the other side of the railway bridge about 50m from the scene and said that he thought that although it went against best practice, and he had never done it before, we should maybe try and move my father to his car to transport him to hospital.

Fortunately while we were discussing this an ambulance arrived at 12. 45am and my father was put onto a stretcher for transport to the RUH in Bath. The crew of this ambulance said that they were technically on a break but had heard Matt call and had decided to help out.

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

Good Afternoon Concerned of Wiltshire

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

I am very sorry that your father waited as long for a conveying ambulance to arrive. I understand that we have received communication already to help us look into the details surrounding your father's ambulance attendance. We will do our best to respond to this in a direct fashion as soon as we can.

Thank you, again, for providing our service with feedback.


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful