Maidstone woman, 78, who fell in her garage waited nearly 14 hours for ambulance

  • Watch: Our reporter Tony Green spoke to Janice Price

A woman, 78, from Kent was forced to wait almost 14 hours for an ambulance after she suffered suspected breaks to an arm and leg.

Janice Price of Leonard Close, Maidstone, fell over in her garage on June 2, after tripping over a step.

Mrs Price's friend who was also a retired nurse rang the ambulance at 6:02pm, with the service asking if they could get her to the hospital themselves.

She explained that she was a former nurse, and that she didn't feel it was right for Mrs Price to stand on her leg.

She also explained to the call operator that Mrs Price wouldn't be able to cope with sitting in the waiting area for a long time.

Her injuries were classed as category 2 as they were not life threatening. She was called five hours later.

Janice Price was told by emergency services that they did not know when an ambulance was coming for her. Credit: ITV News Meridian

She was told: "You're a category 2 we still have you on the ambulance list but I'm sorry, we don't know when the ambulance is coming."

There was another call at 5am and a crew arrived at 7.45am.

Mrs Price said: "The paramedics you can't fault them at all. He said to my husband why didn't you phone the ambulance before?

"So the other paramedic turned around and said: But they did it wasn't 6:02 this morning it was 6:02 last night the call came in."

Her husband, Geoffrey Price, said: "We just waited and waited and waited."

"I just couldn't do anything and I was in shock myself I had tears in my eyes I was getting emotional and my wife: I just wanted to get her better. I didn't know what to do really."

But Mrs Price's ordeal is far from isolated.

An investigation has revealed that in the south east, patients are being put at risk on a daily basis - and some are dying - because ambulances are taken out of service for hours at a time unable to hand over patients to struggling A&E departments.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) Union Branch Secretary, Peter Steventon, said: "The frustration is felt by crews without a doubt. We don't have enough staff in SECAMB.

"We don't have enough staff, we can't recruit people quick enough, we struggle to retain staff. It is a wider picture of ambulances queueing up at the hospital which we all see out and about.

"That means those ambulances aren't going back out to pick up people in a readily fashion and those effects will land on the patient who has to wait for excessive times."

A SECAMB spokesman said: "We are very sorry that we were not able to respond as quickly as we should have. We remain extremely busy and some patients are waiting far longer than they should while we prioritise our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.

"We have been contacted by Mrs Price and will look into our response to her in detail and respond to her directly."

That response has not happened yet as of Monday, June 20.

The trust says it is working with hospitals to minimise delays and wants the public only to dial 999 in an emergency.