Woman waited in ambulance for more than 20 hours outside Royal Cornwall Hospital

  • Watch Grace Pascoe's report

A 79-year-old woman from Cornwall waited in the back of an ambulance for more than 20 hours with a broken hip outside hospital.

Ann Morrison fell from her mobility scooter into the road in Roche on Sunday (7 August) where she lay for two hours before paramedics arrived.

She then spent almost a full day and night outside the hospital before a bed became available.

Her son Ron Johns said the wait was very worrying.

Family photo of Ann and Ron together in Roche Credit: Family photo

He said: "My mother is my main priority and I feel that a 79-year-old with chronic COPD, with a broken hip, it can’t be right that she’s been in an ambulance for over 20 hours.

"It goes beyond being annoyed, you’re almost disbelieving that that can happen in this day and age.

"She had wonderful care because she had two paramedics there but the discomfort and worry of being on a trolley in an ambulance, it’s not a hospital bed.”

Mr Johns said Ann wasn’t alone in having to wait in the back of an ambulance on Sunday.

Ron Johns said the wait was worrying and frustrating Credit: ITV West Country News

“There were more than 20 ambulances at one point, it's inhumane I think, that her priority is down the list, that it takes 20 odd hours for her to be put in a bed in a hospital - then we’re in dire straits aren’t we?”

Kate Shields, chief executive officer for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s Integrated Care System said apologised for the delay.

She said: “We are very sorry that Mrs Morrison had to wait so long for the urgent care that she needed, this is not the level of care that we aspire to provide. 

“When a patient arrives at hospital by ambulance, they are assessed by a member of the emergency department team, the assessment may include x-rays, scans and other initial tests.

"Those most critically ill will be admitted straight away. When a patient isn’t admitted straight away, their care remains with the ambulance service until the hospital can accept them.

“We are working hard to return services to what we would expect and want for our loved ones, and we thank our colleagues for their continued efforts.”

Handover delays occur when there are no beds available to admit new patients into. In Cornwall there are currently more than 200 people in acute and community hospitals, waiting for care home places or support packages in their own homes.

Ann Morrison has now undergone a successful hip replacement surgery and is recovering at Royal Cornwall Hospital.