1. ITV Report

Exmouth pensioner with broken hip 'wanted to die' while waiting seven hours for ambulance

The ambulance service has apologised for the long delay Photo: PA images

A 77-year-old woman was forced to wait seven hours for an ambulance after suffering a broken hip.

South Western Ambulance Service has apologised for the delay in reaching Margaret Clements, who had a fall at her home in Exmouth on Saturday.

The trust says demand was high due to bad weather and 'a number of serious incidents in the area'.

Mrs Clements' family, who have lodged a formal complaint, say she was left lying on a cold conservatory floor from 9am to 4pm despite several 999 calls.

Her son, Mark Clements, told ITV Westcountry he set off from his home in London back to Exmouth when he heard the news, and arrived before the ambulance.

By this point, despite our attempts to keep her warm, my mother was extremely cold, distressed and in so much pain that she said she just wanted to die. My mother is a very strong woman and it was heartbreaking to see her go through this experience. On Sunday she had an operation to repair her hip but she is still very weak which I'm sure is a result of the traumatic experience that she so unnecessarily went through.

– Mark Clements
Mrs Clements' family say they are unhappy about the delay Credit: ITV News

We are sorry that we were not able reach this patient sooner. The patient was assessed by staff in our 999 clinical control hub, and there was considered to be no immediate threat to life.

Demand on the ambulance service at the time of the call was high due to the bad weather and we were attending a number of serious incidents in the area. We must prioritise our resources for those patients in the most serious conditions. However, when the patient reported increased pain the call was upgraded, and the next available resource was sent to treat her and take her to hospital for further treatment.

Like all ambulance services across the country, we continue to see an unprecedented rise in demand for our services. As such, we must prioritise our response for those most critically ill patients.

Unfortunately it can be very hard to manage the demand with finite resources, and occasionally those patients assessed as being less urgent do experience delays. We would not wish for any patient to experience a long wait, and we continue to work exceptionally hard to deliver the highest quality response for patients.

– South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust
A trust spokeswoman said they continue to work hard for patients Credit: ITV News