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98-year-old made to wait 90 mins for ambulance after fall

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 December 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 07 December 2010

Ambulance

Ambulance

Archant

THE FAMILY of a 98-year-old woman have criticised the ambulance service after they were kept waiting for almost an hour-and-a-half for crews to arrive during last week’s heavy snowfall.

Spencer Cook, from Daventry Road, Harold Hill, claims that his grandmother Mary Wright waited from 10.50am to 12.05pm for London Ambulance crews after she fell down the stairs last Thursday (December 2).

Spencer said: “I think it is an absolute disgrace.

“My nan has been through two world wars and she has always paid her taxes so she shouldn’t be treated this way.”

Spencer claims that he called the ambulance at 10.50am after he found his grandmother lying at the foot of the stairs at her home.

But he says that he was told that there was nothing that they could do because they were under a lot of pressure.

When he called a second time he was told that they had 400 people to get through, before crews finally arrived at 12.03pm taking the elderly woman to Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

Spencer said: “I think it is terrible because it was bad enough for me finding my nan lying at the bottom of the stairs and screaming in pain, then to have to wait for an ambulance for so long was terrible.”

As part of last week’s arctic weather conditions London Ambulance Service (LAS) was only offering phone advice to people suffering from minor illnesses and injuries in a bid to send crews out to vulnerable people and those with serious health problems.

But Spencer argues the staff was dismissive of his grandmother’s condition despite her age.

He said: “She is a frail old lady, I understand it was harder for them to get out because of the weather conditions, but the least they could have said was that they were sending someone out but if I hadn’t have called them back then we could have still be waiting.”

Mary is still in hospital recovering from a fracture in her shoulder.

An LAS spokesman said: “We can confirm that we were called at 10.43am last Thursday to a patient at an address in Daventry Road, Romford.

“From the information received over the telephone, it was established that the patient was conscious and breathing and not in a life-threatening condition.

“Because of exceptionally high demand placed on the service as a result of the wintry conditions last week, an ambulance unfortunately did not arrive on scene until 12.03pm.

“The patient was treated by staff and taken to hospital.

“We are very sorry for any distress this caused to the patient or their family. If they would like more information on the circumstances surrounding what happened, we would invite them to contact our patient experiences department on: 020 3069 0240.”

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