Injured Magor man's agonising 999 wait
10:30am Friday 8th June 2012 in News
THIS is 69-year-old Frank Miles who lay on a wet floor for almost four hours waiting for an ambulance after falling over.
Mr Miles, from Magor, lay on the floor at the back of the Waterloo Hotel in Pill, Newport, for three hours and 35 minutes with a fractured left kneecap while he waited for an ambulance.
Mr Miles had been to a Newport and Uskmouth Rotary Club meeting at the hotel on Wednesday and was leaving at 2pm to go home when he slipped on the wet wooden decking leading out to the car park.
Hotel staff and rotary club members dialled 999 six times until a rapid response vehicle arrived with a paramedic at 5.30pm - some three hours and 20 minutes after the first call was made at 2.10pm.
The paramedic apologised to Mr Miles for the long wait and an ambulance, with two paramedics, arrived around 15 minutes later to take him to the Royal Gwent Hospital a mile away.
While the hours went by Mr Miles was wrapped in blankets, had his head propped up by a pillow and his leg supported by a cardboard box.
Hotel staff tried to protect him from the rain with three umbrellas and were concerned about the risk of hypothermia.
Despite the wait, Mr Miles remained in good spirits and said he was not in too much pain.
The retired civil servant said: "On a very rational basis I think it's ridiculous that when you injure yourself you have to wait for so long. It does feel like a long time but I feel relatively comfortable."
The hotel's manageress Teri Hawkes made the first call to the ambulance service and said she was told not to move Mr Miles.
The hotel's owner Bob Evans said :"I would have picked him up and taken him in my car but they said it's too risky. It's so frustrating that we can't do anything."
A retired surgeon and a retired GP were among the rotary members at the hotel who kept checking on Mr Miles' knee.
Former Newport GP Dr Malcolm Bright made the third 999 call and said he was told there was no ambulance available.
He said he asked to speak to a senior manager but was told they were too busy to speak to him.
He rang again at 3.40pm and said the operator hung up on him as they said they had another emergency call to deal with.
Dr Bright said that Mr Miles had told him his left kneecap had been fractured, and he was still in hospital yesterday.
Dr Bright said: "I think the paramedic service is wonderful but this has got to be a terrible system. Something needs to change and something needs to be improved.
"It's frightening that the ambulance service can't cope at this time of year."
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We very much regret the time taken to respond to this call, which was received during a period of high call volume in the area.
"Whilst we cannot discuss individual patient details, we will be looking into this incident and would encourage the patient or family involved to contact us directly should they wish to discuss their concerns."