Cornwall grandmother 'left on freezing floor' for nine hours waiting for ambulance

Mary Kinsella fell on Albion Road in Helston while she was taking her dog for a walk at around 1.30pm on Tuesday afternoon (11 October). Credit: BPM Media

A 72-year-old woman from Cornwall was left lying in a street for nine hours after breaking her hip because no ambulances were available to take her to hospital.

Mary Kinsella fell on Albion Road in Helston while she was taking her dog for a walk at around 1.30pm on Tuesday afternoon (11 October).

Her family say an ambulance was requested at 1.35pm but it did not arrive until 10.30pm.

Mary’s family say they repeatedly called the ambulance service but were told there was not one available.

Describing the ordeal, Mary’s granddaughter Bethany said: “Nan fell whilst walking the dog - our dog saw a cat and ran and took nan with her.

"We were regularly calling 999 and the handlers just kept reiterating that there was nothing they could do and that they were extremely busy.

"The paramedics themselves called us from the ambulance queue at Treliske to keep us informed but the only update was that nan was top priority but they couldn’t predict the wait time."

She said even after paramedics arrived, her grandmother was still in an ambulance the following morning outside of the hospital.

Bethany added: "I went into work this morning and was under the impression that she was in hospital finally as the doctor called me to say that she has broken her hip and that she was going to be in for a hip replacement on Friday, but then when I went back it turns out she is still in an ambulance as there are no beds.

“She is settled as she is on a lot of morphine and had a nerve block to ease the pain before the operation.”

Beth said her family are "appalled" by the situation, but wanted to praise everyone who stopped to help Mary, including the paramedics who helped.

"It’s upsetting to see anyone you love in pain and injured, never mind your 72-year-old grandparent laying in the freezing cold for nine hours without any assistance at all.

“We couldn’t move her because she was in complete agony. She has an underlying heart condition which we kept reiterating to the emergency services as she was getting chest pains throughout - my mum and my brother had been there since they got the call to say it had happened, I turned up at 6pm when I finished work and she was still shaking from shock and pain.

“You hear stories about this stuff but you just don’t believe it. I think more people need to know about this because something needs to be done.

"I absolutely dread to think about what’s been going on to other poorly and injured people over Cornwall that we don’t hear about.

“The paramedics were just amazing, they were so apologetic and of course, this is none of their fault at all.

"They are mentally, emotionally, and physically drained working in such tireless conditions - the main reason I am doing this and wanting to put the story out there is because the paramedics pleaded with us to do so, they want more people to make a stand and be made aware so that we can all speak up and hopefully a change is made.

“The community were amazing. We had so many people checking we were okay, bringing blankets, hot water bottles, hot drinks, flashlights, snacks etc.”

A spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) told ITV News: “We are sorry that we were unable to provide a timely response to Ms Kinsella.

"Our ambulance clinicians strive every day to give their best to patients, but our performance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to handover delays at emergency departments.

“Health and social care services are under enormous pressure. We are working with our partners to ensure our ambulance clinicians can get back out on the road as quickly as possible, to respond to other 999 calls within the community."