War hero from Bispham, aged 98, had to wait five-and-half hours for ambulance after fall

A war hero from Bispham had to wait five-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after collapsing at his home and breaking his hip.

By Richard Hunt
Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:02 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:02 am
Leroy Famer waited five-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after his dad, Bert,  fell and broke his hip.
Leroy Famer waited five-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after his dad, Bert, fell and broke his hip.

Albert ‘Bert’ Farmer, 98, of Galway Avenue, Bispham, was in agony after the accident on March 30 this year.

Bert, a founder member of the RAF Regiment in the Second World War, didn't want to make a fuss but managed to phone son Leroy, who rushed from his home in Preesall to help.

Leroy, 50, phoned for an ambulance at 1.54am but it didn't arrive until just before 7.28am.

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Great grandfather Bert, a former tailor and painter and decorator, was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but died from the effects of major trauma several days later, on April 4.

Leroy, who works as a hairdresser, said: “I don’t like to criticise the ambulance service, I know how hard they work and how much pressure they are under.

"They do a sterling job under difficult circumstances.

Albert Farmer, 98, was left in agony after falling and breaking his hip at his home in Bispham

"But it is clear something is very wrong when you have to wait that long in a genuine emergency, I am sure they are frustrated themselves.

"You have to wonder if the service is fit for purpose, because I know that this was not an isolated incident.

"My father was not the sort of person to make a fuss, he was a Second World War veteran.

"He would rather put up with things and get on with it, than complain if he was hurt.

Albert 'Bert' Farmer was a founder member of the RAF Regiment in 1942, during the Second World War

"So I knew he was in trouble when he phoned me.

"I could tell he was in a bad way and it turned out he had broken his hip, a pretty serious injury which must have been agonising.

"Something has to be done at the highest level to make sure our ambulance service gets the help it needs to be able to function effectively.

"Unfortunately, this just isn’t good enough.”

Concerns have been raised about waiting times for ambulances

Leroy added: “I am sure the fact he was left lying on the floor so long did not help him.

"He fought for his country and deserved better than that.”

The case follows a similar incident in Blackpool last summer when a 76 year old visitor to to the town, Roy Wilson, had to wait six-and-a-half-hours for an ambulance after he fell off his bicycle and fractured his hip on the promenade near Starr Gate.

Fortunately, he was able to make a recovery in hospital.

And only last month, Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the NHS was breaking its basic agreement with the public to treat the sickest in a timely way, because of the pressure it was under.

She said lives were at risk because 999 callers faced “unacceptable and appalling” waits for ambulances in England.

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said, “We are sad to hear about Mr Farmer’s death and offer our sincere condolences to his family.

"We have continued to experience serious challenges with high call volumes, particularly in March, and we are very sorry for the time it took to reach him.

"We have looked into this case and contacted Mr Farmer’s family to share our findings, but we invite them to get back in touch if there are any further questions.”