Elderly Devon woman waits eight hours for ambulance in 'agonising pain'

Devon woman waits eight hours for ambulance
The 97-year-old was left covered in blankets on the floor after falling at her home in Brixham. Credit: BPM Media

The family of an elderly woman from Devon have described how she was made to wait more than eight hours for an ambulance.

The 97-year-old, from Brixham, was left on the floor of her home "in agony" while ambulances were unavailable.

Paramedics or her GP were unable to get to the woman for eight hours and 15 minutes.

Her family said they were told nothing could be done to speed up the process "unless [the] patient nears death".

What happened?

The woman, who has not been named, fell at her home in Brixham around 6.45am on Tuesday, February 15.

She had a pendant alarm around her neck, which she used to summon an ambulance at 6.50am.

Her son-in-law said his wife went to the house and remained with her until help arrived - which came several hours later.

During the ordeal, he said: "Ambulance has now been called three times. GP contacted twice - nothing anyone can do. GP home call unavailable.

"Ambulance busy therefore unless patient nears death nothing can be done for the time being.

"Meanwhile my mother-in-law remains on the floor in agony."

Photographs, which have been blurred to protect the patient's anonymity, show the elderly woman on the floor wrapped in blankets.

An ambulance arrived eight hours and 15 minutes after the woman's first call for help. Credit: BPM Media

'Severe pressure'

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service has apologised for the delay.

"We’re sorry that, due to the health and social care system being under severe pressure, some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance.

"One of the reasons for this is due to the length of time it’s taking us to hand over patients into busy hospitals.

"We are working closely with NHS partners to address these delays, so our crews can get back out on the road for other patients.

"However, even with the additional resources we are making available, the number of ambulances currently waiting for prolonged periods of time at Emergency Departments inevitably impacts on our ability to respond to patients.”