Anger as pensioner waits more than an hour for ambulance

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  • Pensioner fell on Queen Street and broke her hip
  • Ambulance took 74 minutes to arrive
  • Calls for ambulance response times to be reviewed

A Peterhead pensioner who took a fall and broke her hip on the town’s Queen Street had to wait 74 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

The unnamed woman, who fell at around 10.30am on Saturday, March 21, was left sitting on the street.

For someone to be left sitting on the pavement in the middle of Peterhead for that length of time simply isn’t good enough.

Stephen Bruce

Stephen Bruce, who was one of the first people on the scene, said he was deeply concerned about the length of time it took for the ambulance to arrive.

Speaking to the Buchanie, he said: “The woman was in a great deal of pain and later it was discovered she had broken her hip.

“We made her as comfortable as possible but the time she had to wait was absolutely ridiculous, I could understand if she had to wait maybe 30 minutes while the ambulances dealt with emergencies but she was there nearly 90 minutes.

“For someone to be left sitting on the pavement in the middle of Peterhead for that length of time simply isn’t good enough.”

Mr Bruce took to social media after the incident and was overwhelmed by the response he received.

“I went on Facebook and became even more concerned after seeing the amount of people who had experienced similar issues,” he said.

“The sheer volume of people who people who were also concerned about ambulance response times was worrying and I would hate to think it was ever a member of my family who was left waiting that length of time.”

In response to the incident, a Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The response time to a 999 call is dictated by the clinical urgency of the call.

“In this case the call was triaged as non life-threatening with a response time of up to an hour. The call was received at 10.43am and responding ambulances were twice diverted to potentially immediate life-threatening calls while en route. A third ambulance was on scene at 11.57am.”

Mr Bruce has now called for a meeting with Banff and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson to discuss Ambulance reponse times.

“I am also trying to arrange a meeting with Brian Milne, area manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service,” he said.

“I’m awaiting a Freedom of Information report on response times for the AB42 postcode in 2014 and am gathering a list of incidents where the public has previous experience of what they believe is excessive response times.

“They can contact me on sbruce61@btinternet.com with the information.

“I really do feel passionately that no-one should suffer the way that elderly woman did while waiting for an ambulance.

“However, I would like to emphasise that I’m in no way criticising the paramedics/technicians who I believe do a great job under difficult circumstances,” he added.

MP for Banff and Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford highlighted the problems experienced by the Scottish Ambulance Service last year.

She said: “I am sorry to hear of this lady’s accident and I hope she is making a good recovery. The length of time she had to wait for an ambulance is unacceptable.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service needs to explain what happened in this case, and reassure the public that they have sufficient cover in Peterhead and the surrounding area.

“I understand that there are real recruitment challenges and that the Scottish Ambulance Service is in the process of training new personnel to address their staffing shortages, but in the meantime, managers need to ensure that there is sufficient cover in North Aberdeenshire.”