NHS 'sorry' after 85-year-old woman has to wait more than 12 hours for ambulance

PA Images stockshot of an ambulance.
Kathleen's son had to use a ladder as a makeshift stretcher to get his mum back in her home. Credit: PA Images

Ambulance bosses have apologised to an 85-year-old woman left waiting more than 12 hours for paramedics.Friend Alan Taylor called 999 after Kathleen Chadwick fell outside her Smallthorne home in the pouring rain.They were initially told there would be a five-hour wait - and Kathleen's son eventually had to use a ladder as a makeshift stretcher to get his mum back in her home.Now West Midlands Ambulance Service has said sorry for the delay after the alarm was raised at 1.45pm on September 28.

Alan had been taking Kathleen to a hospital appointment when she hurt her leg in the fall.The 76-year-old said: "She fell trying to get in my car. She was lying in the road with one leg in the car and the other leg resting on her knee. I rang for an ambulance as I didn't know if she was injured."They said it would be five hours - and I thought that was a good while. They also said not to move her - and I said 'she's lying in the road and it's pouring with rain'."I waited an hour and nothing came so I rang again and they said it would be on its way."It was a terrible downpour that day and I was soaked to the skin."The ambulance eventually arrived at 2.30am the following morning. She was taken to A&E at 4am.Alan added: "It is disgraceful. It appears that the ambulance service was prepared to leave her lying in the road for over 12 hours."To leave her for 12 hours is disgraceful and to think she was lying in the road outside for hours. She is owed an apology."West Midlands Ambulance Service says the 'whole NHS remains under severe pressure'.An ambulance service spokesman said: "We would like to apologise for taking just over 12 hours to respond to an elderly patient who had fallen."Paramedics in our control room spoke to the caller with the patient on several occasions to check on the condition of the patient prior to us being able to respond."Unfortunately, the whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure; hospital handover delays unfortunately mean patients waiting longer for an ambulance response."Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to reach patients as quickly as possible, but we accept that on too many occasions, this is not as quickly as we would want and certainly not as quickly as patients and their loved ones would want."On September 28, 73 per cent of handovers at the Royal Stoke University Hospital were delayed, with the average handover being 48 minutes 57 seconds, against a national target of 15 minutes."