Four-hour ambulance agony

Hotelier David Taylor

Hotelier David Taylor

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A BLACKPOOL hotelier today demanded an investigation after he waited almost four hours for an ambulance to arrive.

David Taylor, 57, was left in agony after he broke his leg in three places when he fell down the stairs at his Vance Road guest house.

His frantic wife Elaine made an emergency 999 call as Mr Taylor was unable to move from the foot of the stairs where he had fallen.

But to their horror, it was three hours and 45 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

Today, as health bosses pledged to look into the length the ambulance took to arrive, Mr Taylor said: “It is completely unacceptable I was left in that condition for so many hours – I was in agony.

“I broke my ankle my tibia and fibia, I needed surgery to pin my leg and was kept in hospital for a week. This wasn’t a minor accident.

“I felt so ill because of the pain I was in, an elderly person could have easily gone into shock.

“Nobody should have to wait so long for an emergency ambulance.”

The North West Ambulance Service today pledged to investigate the matter

Mr Taylor has lodged a formal complaint with the service and has spoke to a solicitor for advice.

During the drama, Mr Taylor’s wife and daughter rang four times in total to ask where the ambulance was and were told it was on its way.

Emergency calls are given one of six priority codes when a 999 call is made, this affects the ambulance response time.

For a life threatening condition, a code ‘red one’ is given and ambulance staff are expected to respond within eight minutes to 75 per cent these calls.

On the other end of the scale is code ‘green four’, the least urgent and the code which was assigned to Mr Taylor.

Crews are expected to respond to these calls within 240 minutes.

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Ambulance switchboard staff answer a series of questions about the patient on a computer and the priority is generated automatically.

On average, there are 12 ambulances working on the Fylde coast on a weekend.

Mr Taylor has been told his accident, which happened at 11.10pm on May 19, was classed as a lower priority because of a high number of life threatening emergencies that night.

But Mr Taylor said: “I’ve been told it was a busy night but I find it difficult to believe life threatening emergencies kept every ambulance crew busy for almost four hours.

“Something doesn’t add up.

“When I finally got to A&E, there was hardly anybody there.

“It’s not like I was sat at home with a sprained ankle, I was on the floor in unbelievable pain and my family were frantic with no way of getting me to hospital.

“If this is what people can expect when they dial 999, the system needs looking at.”

A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We are always concerned when patients are dissatisfied with service we provide and we take all complaints very seriously.

“The Trust appreciates the distress Mr Taylor experienced given that he did wait a considerable length of time for the ambulance to arrive.

“On the night in question, the Trust was experiencing an extremely high number of life-threatening calls.

“All calls are prioritised according to the patient’s need and we must ensure that those who are suffering from most serious life-threatening conditions or injuries receive a response as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately this does sometimes mean that patients with non life-threatening conditions may have a longer wait, especially during periods of high activity.

“Mr Taylor has now made contact with us and a formal investigation has commenced. Once complete, our findings will be reported to him.”

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