Sunday, November 28, 2021

Great-grandma left lying in the rain during nine-hour wait for ambulance

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Health bosses have apologised after an 87-year-old was left lying on the floor in the pouring rain for nine hours waiting for an ambulance.
It took almost nine hours for paramedics from the West Midlands Ambulance Service to come to Rita Tonks’ aid (Picture: SWNS)

Health bosses have apologised after an elderly woman was left lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance in the pouring rain for nine hours.

Rita Tonks, 87, fractured her hip after slipping on her driveway in Telford, Shropshire on October 4.

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The great-grandma managed to call out for help, with neighbors rushing to her aid.

They worked to keep the retired council worker warm by bringing out patio heaters, umbrellas and duvets while her son rang 999.

An ambulance was called and staff advised the pensioner not be moved. 

But it took almost nine hours for paramedics to arrive, during which time Rita was forced to lay on her driveway in the cold and rain.

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Steve Tonks, 63, Rita’s son said it was ‘disgraceful’ it took so long for an ambulance to take her to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. 

The angry son has called the UK’s health care system ‘broken’. 

Health bosses have apologised after Rita’s family was left outraged (Picture: Steve Tonks / SWNS)

He said: ‘My brother called an ambulance at 1.15pm but it didn’t arrive until 10pm. She waited on the cold and wet driveway – it was pouring with rain.

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‘We called back once and were told they were busy and they were aware of my mother, the second time we phoned they even told us not to call them again.

‘When it started getting darker we phoned for a third time and were told the next ambulance would be on its way. But it was still another hour after that before they arrived.

‘Nobody should be forced to wait outside in inclement weather for nine hours – especially a woman of her age.’

Rita had fallen onto her hip after her right knee ‘collapsed’, her family said.

She had her left knee replaced at PRH in September 2019 and had been due to have an operation on her right knee six months later – but this was delayed due to Covid.

Steve said: ‘The government is saying elective surgery has commenced again but my mother is still waiting. 

‘It’s heartbreaking to know that she may go to her grave in pain without having that operation. 

Rita is now recovering at PRH after being given a partial hip replacement following her fall. 

Nieghbours covered the pensioner with blankets and umbrellas to try and keep her warm and dry (Picture: Steve Tonks / SWNS)
Health bosses from the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford have apologised (Picture: SWNS)

West Midlands Ambulance Service has apologised to the pensioner and her family. 

A spokesman said: ‘Local NHS services remain under severe pressure; hospital handover delays unfortunately mean patients waiting longer for an ambulance response. 

‘Paramedics in our control room spoke to the caller with the patient on several occasions to check whether her condition had changed. 

‘Less than half of our patients are taken to hospital, but we continue to work with all local NHS partners to reduce delays so crews can respond to the next incident as quickly as possible.’

The service said 68.4% of ambulance handovers of patients at PRH had been delayed on the day of Rita’s fall and 91.7% were delayed at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. 

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH), which runs both hospitals, has also apologised.

It said the high demand for urgent care, together with caring for Covid patients, had impacted other services. 

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at veloxnews1@gmail.com

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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