91-year-old woman ‘stuck on floor in agony waiting 11 hours for ambulance’

A 91-year-old woman was left stuck on the floor in pain and unable to move after an ambulance took 11 hours to get to her, it has been claimed. The elderly woman collapsed at 5pm and it was not until 4am the next day that the ambulance arrived, her family said.

It is the latest in a series of reports of long ambulance delays in the West Midlands at a time when the region’s service is in crisis, with a director warning it faces ‘collapse’ within weeks. The daughter of the woman from Birmingham, who has not been identified, said she could not even get to the toilet while she was stuck on the floor in agony and that they were told the ambulance was “on its way” as she lay waiting .

The complaint was lodged with the patient support group Healthwatch Birmingham as part of its investigation into people’s experiences of the NHS across the West Midlands. The daughter was quoted in the report as saying: “My mother collapsed and fell. She is 91 years old with health issues, we phoned an ambulance at around 5pm and it arrived at 4am next day.

READ MORE: Five reasons why West Midlands Ambulance Service is facing ‘collapse’

“All this time she was on the floor unable to move in pain unable to get to the toilet and all this time every time we phoned we were told the ambulance is on its way 11 hours she lay on that floor.” The incident is believed to have happened during the last month.

The performance of West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) had been badly impacted by its crews having to wait outside hospitals, for hours in some cases. Director Mark Docherty delivered a grave warning last week that the service may reach the point where it cannot respond to emergencies by mid-August because of a lack of resources, prompting calls for urgent action by Midlands MPs.

So many ambulances queuing outside hospitals means there have been fewer vehicles and paramedics available to hit the roads and respond to 999 calls. The knock-on effect has been WMAS failing to meet response time targets, with heart attack and stroke patients waiting nearly an hour for ambulances on average, resulting in claims lives are being put at risk.

There have been a series of shocking reports of people waiting hours for help, including a 90-year-old dementia patient who was left lying on the floor of his home for 20 hours without food or water and a sick patient who was kept waiting outside a Shropshire hospital for 23 hours last month.

A WMAS spokesman said of the delays: “Hospitals handover delays mean we have fewer crews on the road responding to calls. We are working closely with all local hospitals in the West Midlands to address this issue, while our staff and volunteers continue to do everything possible to respond as soon as we can.

“The latest figures underline the pressures that continue to affect all parts of the NHS and mean that patients too often experience long waits for treatment. More than 50% of patients who call 999 do not need hospital care and can be safely treated in other settings , and our Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers divert crews, where appropriate, to other hospitals with capacity so that patients are seen more quickly. ”

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