Undy woman with broken hip in nine-hour wait for ambulance

South Wales Argus: Valerie Gamage with husband Harry Valerie Gamage with husband Harry

A Parkinson's-sufferer who fell and broke her hip was forced to wait nearly nine hours for an ambulance.

Valerie Gamage, 66, from Undy, was making a cup of tea when she fell and broke her hip.

Her husband Harry Gamage, 78, said: "She was in the kitchen at about 12pm on Monday making us both a cup of tea. She shouted to me that it was ready, but before I got there she tripped and fell down and hurt her left side.

"I somehow managed to get her into the lounge and she telephoned the doctor. He said we'd better ring an ambulance, so my wife rang 999. This was about 1pm.

"At 3pm a paramedic from rapid response arrived in a car. He checked her over and told us an ambulance was on its way, and then left.

"Well, no ambulance arrived. We made several 999, telling them while we didn't need a blue light we did need an ambulance. I explained that my wife has early stage Parkinson's, and that she was in a tremendous amount of pain, and we just kept being told an ambulance was on its way.

"My wife was in distress, we both were.

"At 8pm a paramedic arrived in a car. He was very thorough and he said an ambulance was on its way.

"Eventually, at 8.45pm, nearly nine hours after my wife's accident, the ambulance arrived, got her in a wheelchair and took her to the hospital. She had an operation which removed the ball at the top her femur.

"'I've got no complaints about the paramedics, when they arrived they were great.

"But after I saw the article in the Argus about just five ambulances covering all of Gwent last week, it made sense.

"There's something seriously wrong when people are having to wait that long for an ambulance."

Sue Jenkins, Director of Service Delivery at the Welsh Ambulance Service said: "At the time of this incident significant pressure was being experienced across the whole health system in south Wales, markedly above that of which we would expect.

"While we must prioritise our resources to immediately life threatening calls, the Trust recognises and deeply regrets the delay in providing transport to the patient.

"We will be contacting the patient directly to discuss the case and their concerns further."

Comments (2)

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3:48pm Mon 29 Oct 12

Aquarius says...

If the senior managers of the Ambulance Service spent as much time honing their managerial skills and sorting out these problems as they seem to do posting their profiles on the 'LinkedIn' website, things might improve....

Otherwise it's the same old excuses.

Cases such as these only serve to reinforce the fact that resources do not match demand (and a patient with a broken hip isn't something that can be safely put into a family car, so it's not really an 'inappropriate' 999 call, even if allowing for the fact it's not a life threatening one).

There are NOT ENOUGH ambulance crews! Control and Operational staff are run ragged trying to deal with these calls.

It is inevitable at times that strain on hospital A+E's will impact on the timeliness of ambulance responses, but there is absolutely no 'slack' in the system to deal with sudden spikes in demand. No wonder morale is so poor.

This has been going on for years now. Please stop the excuses and DEAL with the problem, for the good of Ambulance Staff and the public alike.
If the senior managers of the Ambulance Service spent as much time honing their managerial skills and sorting out these problems as they seem to do posting their profiles on the 'LinkedIn' website, things might improve.... Otherwise it's the same old excuses. Cases such as these only serve to reinforce the fact that resources do not match demand (and a patient with a broken hip isn't something that can be safely put into a family car, so it's not really an 'inappropriate' 999 call, even if allowing for the fact it's not a life threatening one). There are NOT ENOUGH ambulance crews! Control and Operational staff are run ragged trying to deal with these calls. It is inevitable at times that strain on hospital A+E's will impact on the timeliness of ambulance responses, but there is absolutely no 'slack' in the system to deal with sudden spikes in demand. No wonder morale is so poor. This has been going on for years now. Please stop the excuses and DEAL with the problem, for the good of Ambulance Staff and the public alike. Aquarius

8:49pm Mon 29 Oct 12

emlynkide says...

you know time and time again what the managers are going to say, when are we going to see something positive from them, its the same old thing at this time every year, if you want to know the truth you must ask the ambulance staff.
you know time and time again what the managers are going to say, when are we going to see something positive from them, its the same old thing at this time every year, if you want to know the truth you must ask the ambulance staff. emlynkide

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