The ambulance service has apologised after an elderly woman was left injured in a Blackpool town centre street for almost an hour.
Paramedics reached the pensioner, understood to be in her 80s and to have suffered a head wound after falling in Bank Hey Street, at 2.18pm on Sunday – despite being called 52 minutes earlier at 1.26pm.
A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We understand that waiting for an ambulance can be a very distressing time and apologise that we were unable to attend any sooner.
“At the time of the incident, we were experiencing high demand and there were a number of serious or life-threatening ‘red’ priority calls, but we did dispatch an ambulance as soon as one became available.
“We hope that the patient is recovering well and if she would like to get in touch with us to discuss this further, we do encourage her, or her family, to contact our Patient Experience Team.”
One man, who said he attended A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Sunday, said there were ‘10 ambulances parked outside’ the department, while the corridor ‘was full from one end to the other’.
Over the course of the day, 103 trips were made to A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital by ambulances, the service said.
Handover times – the time it takes for patients to be transferred into the care of hospital staff – averaged out at 50 minutes, it added, with the majority of patients (79) dealt with inside an hour.
Some 16 patients were handed over in under two hours, five in under three, two in under four, and one in under five, times that are ‘being replicated in many hospitals around the region’, it added.
The number of red one and two calls – the most serious – across the North West has increased recently, up to 44,234 for October compared to 41,184 in August, the latest figures show.
Ambulances are meant to arrive within eight minutes 75 per cent of the time for red calls. In October, it was 70.4 per cent.Some 383 red calls were not reached within an hour. No deaths were reported as a consequence.