EMAS apologises after ‘five hour wait’ for ambulance

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East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has apologised after a postman was forced to wait more than five hours for an ambulance to arrive following a painful fall in Louth at the weekend.

The postman slipped and fell in Westgate at around 10.30am on Saturday (November 10), and reportedly suffered fractures to his ribs.

Concerned members of the public quickly called the emergency services and reported that somebody had fallen.

EMAS’s Clinical Assessment Team provided medical support over the phone until the ambulance finally arrived at 3.55pm, and the patient was taken to the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.

However, the long wait for an ambulance to arrive at the scene has led to criticism from members of the public, with some commenting that it was ‘shocking’ and ‘disgusting’ for the injured man to have had to wait in pain for so long.

Sue Cousland, EMAS General Manager for Lincolnshire, explained that Saturday was an exceptionally busy day for the ambulance service.

Ms Cousland said: “We are sorry we were unable to reach this patient sooner and whilst they were not reported to be in a life-threatening or serious condition, we recognise the discomfort that this will have caused.

“On the day of this incident we had nearly 3,000 emergency calls (on average we get 2,500 a day). Every call is assessed to determine the clinical need of the patient using the information received.

“Those who are in a life-threatening condition (e.g. cardiac arrest or not breathing) must be our priority.

“It was a very busy day and we worked hard to get to people who needed us as quickly as possible.

“Over 1,300 patients were taken to hospital by EMAS on Saturday November 10, with another 527 people treated on the scene without the need for further assessment or care, and 468 patients were dealt with over the telephone by our Clinical Assessment Team of paramedics and nurses.

“We would like to speak to the patient so that we can fully investigate the delay and have urged them to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service. We would also like to thank the people at scene who helped keep the patient comfortable until our arrival.”

EMAS is working to improve response times with a £9m additional investment in the service this year, which is allowing the organisation to recruit more frontline clinical staff and to purchase new ambulances and equipment to allow them to respond more quickly and more consistently to 999 calls and urgent GP requests for ambulances.

In September, an additional 200 frontline staff began training with EMAS.