Anger at care home patient's 90 minute wait on the floor for ambulance

A Northumberland woman with broken bones lay on a care home floor for more than an hour before paramedics arrived to take her to hospital

Keith Hall and wife Isobel pictured in 2003
Keith Hall and wife Isobel pictured in 2003

A vulnerable woman with a broken hip and wrist lay on the floor for over an hour before an ambulance arrived.

Isobel Hall, who has Alzheimer’s disease and is poor sighted, slipped and fell at a Northumberland residential care home where she lives, breaking a number of bones.

Staff at the premises were unable to pick her up as they are not allowed to move residents in case they cause further injury to those in their care.

An ambulance was called, yet it took 90 minutes for paramedics to arrive and take the mother-of-three to Wansbeck General Hospital.

Husband Keith, a door engineer, last night hit out at the emergency service for taking too long to assist his beloved wife of 31 years.

Meanwhile, the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust insists it acted correctly as the call was classified as non-life threatening.

Keith, 53, of Blyth, Northumberland, said: “The care home is first-class and staff did everything that they should do to help my wife. I can’t praise them enough as they stayed by her side throughout.

“But it took far too long for paramedics to arrive. It was so undignified for my wife to be lying on the floor for such a long time and it should never have happened.

“I worry that if Isobel falls again then it could be even worse. The ambulance service needs to put care home residents at the top of their list.”

Isobel, 53, fell on Tuesday, February 11, just before 7.20pm, and an ambulance arrived at 8.50pm. As she lay on the floor the type two diabetic’s sugar levels dropped dangerously low.

Grandfather-of-nine Keith was called and rushed to be at his wife’s side to be with her at her time of need.

He said: “I am aware that the ambulance service is stretched but more needs to be done to ensure patients are not waiting so long.

“It is hard to stand back and not be able to do something to help. Things like this need to be looked at by the ambulance service - I worry that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Isobel has been in hospital since the accident and has had two hip operations. She also suffered a left broken wrist and a broken right thumb. In the future she will need physiotherapy to ensure she recovers fully.

A NEAS spokesperson said: “This was classified as a non-life-threatening green call and has no formal response time.

“We arrived on scene at 8.50pm. Two other vehicles had previously been despatched, but on each occasion had been diverted to potentially life-threatening situations.

“When life is in immediate danger, calls are classified as red. These situations always take priority over green calls.

“NEAS currently has the fastest response performance to red calls in England and Wales. We are funded to reach 75% of red patients within eight minutes. At the moment we are achieving just under 80%.”

Isobel was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two years ago and her condition has deteriorated so quickly that she often does not recognise Keith and their children, Daniel, 30, Darren, 29 and Leanne, 27.


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