AN 86-YEAR-OLD man with advanced Alzheimer’s was kept in an ambulance outside the Grange University Hospital for treatment for more than 13 hours after a fall.

John Higgins was taken to the Grange University Hospital at around 2.15am on Monday, November 1, but was told he could not come into the hospital, instead being treated in the ambulance until his release at around 3.30pm.

Mr Higgins was thought to have fallen at Ashton Park Care Home in Newport late on Sunday, with staff finding him on the floor of his room with a gash on his head.


Staff cared for him while waiting for the ambulance, said Mr Higgins’ daughter Sharron Ingleson, with the first responders arriving in around an hour.

An ambulance arrived at the care home three hours after the initial call, taking Mr Higgins to the Grange.

“[Staff] said they heard a thump from his room and rushed up,” said Mrs Ingleson. “He was on the floor with a gash on his head.

“Luckily, one of the staff members is paramedic trained, so he kept pressure on the wound.

“I was told he didn’t come out of the ambulance. They x-rayed him and gave him stitches in the ambulance.

“He was out from the home for a full 12 hours and never went into the hospital.

“Trying to get through to the hospital was atrocious. It took me and my husband over an hour and a half to get through to the Grange.

“I got through to the patient liaison officer, and all she could do was take my name and details and call me back.

“I’m shellshocked. How can they have this with this new super-hospital? I just think it was horrendous.”

South Wales Argus: John Higgins, 86, spent more than 13 hours in an ambulance after suffering a fall. Picture: Sharron Ingleson.John Higgins, 86, spent more than 13 hours in an ambulance after suffering a fall. Picture: Sharron Ingleson.

Mr Higgins was picked up from the Grange by the Red Cross’ hospital transport, but had to continue waiting in the ambulance for around an hour until it arrived, Mrs Ingleson said.  

“In that hour the ambulance could have gone,” she said. “You had somebody sat in that ambulance unnecessarily tying it up.”

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on individual cases.

“Over the weekend, The Grange University Hospital’s Emergency Department was extremely busy due to an exceptionally high intake of very poorly people in need of specialist care,” they said.

“In such testing circumstances, patients brought to our hospitals may be treated by a doctor or nurse on the ambulance. If the patient requires urgent life-saving treatment, then they will be brought straight into our resuscitation department.

“As we continue to operate in a Covid-19 environment, we fully understand how distressing it must be when relatives are unable to obtain updates on their loved ones, and we appreciate that this is never acceptable.

“We have recruited Patient Liaison Officers to act as a point of contact for families to receive these updates, however the demand for this service is extremely high due to the high levels of poorly patients coming through our doors.

“We would like to apologise to anyone who has been caused inconvenience or upset due to the current circumstances, but please be assured that we are working hard to improve our communications with patients’ relatives.”

South Wales Argus: John Higgins, 86, suffered a fall at his Newport care home. Picture: Sharron Ingleson.John Higgins, 86, suffered a fall at his Newport care home. Picture: Sharron Ingleson.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called on Sunday, October 31 at approximately 11.15pm to reports of a person having fallen at a care home in Newport.

“We responded with one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was transported to the Grange University Hospital.

“There have been well-documented unprecedented levels of pressures on the Trust in recent weeks which continue to this day.

“We call on all members of the public to only call 999 in the case of a genuine emergency, for everything else, please consider using your local pharmacist, GP or using the 111 symptoms checker online.”