Mayor’s complaint to ambulance service after pregnant woman left waiting 50 minutes in Brentwood

The Mayor of Brentwood has sent a letter of complaint to the East of England Ambulance Service after a pregnant woman who slipped over on ice had to wait 50 minutes for help.

Cllr Joan Holmes (Conservative, Brentwood West) wrote to ambulance chiefs saying that they should have prioritised the needs of the stricken woman.

The woman, believed to be in her late twenties or early thirties, slid over on black ice in Drovers Mead at about 9am on Monday morning.

She lay helpless as passers-by repeatedly called the emergency services, only to be told that she was not a priority. It later turned out that she had a double fracture of her ankle.

Cllr Holmes said: “The poor woman was lying on the floor – she’s five months pregnant – with a suspected broken ankle.

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“I’m writing to them to see what happened. It was far too long to wait for a woman in that situation, especially as they were called several times.”

The ambulance was called by a resident and Cllr Russell Quirk (Conservative, Hutton North) who saw the aftermath of the incident while walking to work.

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‘Just left her there’

He said: “She was five and a half months pregnant and they just left her there.

“When I called, all I got was a textbook response about how it wasn’t life threatening so she wasn’t a priority.

“It was a priority for that poor woman who was lying on the floor with a baby in her tummy.”

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the ambulance service, said it had to put life-threatening injuries first.

The service has three categories – A for “life threatening”, B for “serious but not life threatening” and C for “non-life threatening”.

He said that if a category A or B call came in while a category C patient was waiting, the ambulance would be diverted to the more urgent patient.

“We work against national government-set targets against which we are commissioned, and the target is to reach category C calls within the hour,” he said.

“An ambulance was on scene within 53 minutes of this call, and the crew assessed the patient as having injured her ankle.

“Patients quite rightly expect the best possible care, but we have a process by which they or their family can discuss any aspect of our response to, or care of, them if they are unhappy.”

Mr Sanderson added that any complaints could be made to the patient services department on 01234 408999.

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