A man who travelled nearly 200 miles to reach his injured mother arrived before an ambulance reached her. Mark Clements used a bus, tube and two trains from London to Exmouth, after his 77-year-old mother fell and broke her hip. The 999 call was made at 09.00 on Saturday but paramedics did not arrive until 7 hours later.
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said, ‘If he can travel 200 miles and still arrive before the ambulance then you have to ask was it really an emergency?’
Mr Clements though said that when paramedics eventually arrived, they were “equally appalled and astonished” at the delay. South Western Ambulance Service said they are experiencing ‘an unprecedented rise in demand’ and need to prioritise more ‘serious incidents’.
‘It’s too many people calling 999 when it’s not even an emergency,’ one trust member told us. ‘Yesterday for example, we received a call saying a man was having his 4th heart attack. Well the call taker ran it past the analysts who said if he’s survived 3 already than statistically, he’s likely to survive a 4th. And you can’t argue with the spreadsheet.’
The man eventually made his own way to the hospital by bus. He was unavailable for comment this morning as staff said he was ‘resting in peace.’
According to official figures South Western Ambulance Service’s response to category 4 cases which only require transport to hospital is the slowest in the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was due to make an announcement on tackling ambulance delays this morning but cancelled after he got a particularly nasty paper cut. Following a call to a private medical company he was rushed to an emergency appointment and is expected to make a full recovery.