Pensioner’s one-hour wait for paramedics

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A FRAIL pensioner was left standing in the street with a broken hip after it took paramedics more than an hour to treat her, her angry son has said.

Jean Foster, 79, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, fell while walking in Castle Hill Road in the town centre on September 14, with her daughter.

But she had to lean against railings outside Poundstretcher while waiting for the ambulance and staff at the shop let her use a chair before paramedics eventually arrived.

Her son, Patrick, of Malvern Way, said: “It’s ridiculous, as it took more than an hour before the ambulance arrived.

“Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three months ago and has now had half of her left hip replaced. She still is in hospital at the Conquest.

“She was in so much agony and mum kept saying she was going to pass out. She had been standing with a broken hip for more than 50 minutes before Poundstretcher helped by loaning her a chair.

“We were told the ambulance was on its way just after 1.30pm but by 1.45pm I phoned back to ask where it was. I was told it was coming from elsewhere because there were no local ambulances available in Hastings.

“Just after 2pm a fast response car arrived.”

It was then discovered that Mr Foster’s mother, who also lives in Malvern Way, was in a worse state than originally thought so crews from the fast response car radioed for paramedics.

Mr Foster said: “They were told the nearest available ambulance was in Eastbourne so in total it took an hour and eight minutes for one to arrive after we first called for one.”

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said: “We can confirm that we were called shortly after 1.30pm last Wednesday to Wellington Square to reports that a woman had suffered a hip injury as a result of a fall.

“The call was categorised as requiring a response within 30 minutes. A single responder in an ambulance car arrived at the scene in 23 minutes and an ambulance arrived on the scene approximately half an hour later.

“An ambulance assigned to this incident had to be stood down en route to attend a higher priority call meaning that it took longer than we would like for an ambulance to arrive at the scene.

“SECAmb always sends the nearest available response and works hard to respond to calls as quickly as possible but must also prioritise its most life-threatening calls.

“We are sorry for the distress the patient and her family suffered because of this and wish her a good recovery.

“We take any concerns raised seriously and would be happy to speak to the patient and her family directly to discuss them further.”