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Leicestershire woman, 84, lay in agony for three hours after 999 call


Ambulance bosses have apologised after a woman was left lying on a pavement for three hours waiting for help.

Her worried son said he was told to "stop being a nuisance" when he tried to find out when help would arrive.

Iris Burton, 84, who had fallen near her house, was eventually taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she had an operation to mend a broken hip.

The widow, from Ratby, also had a fractured shoulder blade.

Her son, Philip, is making a formal complaint to East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) about the delay.

He said: "My mother fell on the path by her house at about 6pm on Friday, February 15.

"It was dark and she couldn't move. She called for help for about 10 minutes and then a girl came by.

"She called 999 for an ambulance and then called me. I got there about five minutes later.

"The girl also called NHS Direct who told her we shouldn't move my mother."

When an ambulance had still not arrived by about 7pm, Mr Burton called himself.

He said: "I was told there wasn't an ambulance available and when I asked when one would be with us and where it was coming from, I was told to stop being a nuisance."

Mr Burton tried to make his mother comfortable and to keep her warm with hot water bottles and duvets from her house.

He said: "It was still awful for her. The cold was coming up from underneath on the pavement where she was lying and she was in agony."

An ambulance arrived at about 9.30pm and Mrs Burton was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where doctors said she had a broken hip and a cracked shoulder blade.

Mr Burton said: "The ambulance men were fantastic. They were brilliant, but I am going to make a formal complaint about the time it took to get an ambulance to my mother.

"She is doing all right at the moment. She had an operation on her hip on Saturday morning and her shoulder is in a sling, there is nothing more that can be done for that."

Karlie Thompson, divisional director for Emas South (Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire) said: "It is clear we did not get to Mrs Burton fast enough.

"While Mrs Burton's injuries were not immediately life-threatening, I do appreciate the pain and distress she will have experienced.

"I regret the delay in our response and offer our apologies.

"We were busy responding to calls including high demand for people reported to be in a life-threatening condition and providing transport for hospital patients who required life-saving treatment at a different centre."

The call had been categorised as "green 1" which meant an ambulance should have been with the patient in 20 minutes.

Zuffar Haq, a spokesman for the Leicester Mercury Patients' Panel, said: "It is unacceptable that people should be kept waiting this long.

"We expect medical assistance to be given within a reasonable time and this should be within at least half an hour."

Leicestershire woman, 84, lay in agony for   three hours after 999 call

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