Pensioner who did not ‘qualify’ for ambulance taken to hospital on gritting bin lid

Pamela Rolfe - Dawn Hamilton/SWNS
Pamela Rolfe – Dawn Hamilton/SWNS

A pensioner who broke her hip was strapped to the lid of a road gritting bin and taken to hospital after being told she did not “qualify” for an ambulance.

Pamela Rolfe, 79, was walking her dog with her family in Johnstown, North Wales, last week when she fell and injured her hip.

Her relatives called an ambulance, which had still not arrived an hour later. When it began to rain, her daughter Dawn Hamilton called again to check where it was. The 58-year-old was told that “the current crisis at the moment” her mother did not “qualify” for an ambulance.

“If my Mum had been left, she would have died,” said Ms Hamilton, who improvised by putting her mother onto the lid of the gritting bin.

“Luckily my partner had hired a van, so I asked him to come, and one of the neighbours ripped off the lid from the grit bin and we used that to stabilise my mum.”

The family drove to Wrexham Maelor Hospital, where lengthy queues of people were waiting for A&E. Mrs Rolfe was admitted to a ward at 7pm, eight hours after the fall. She underwent surgery the next day and remains in hospital.

Ms Hamilton praised the “fantastic” hospital staff but said she was “devastated” by the queues at A&E and the emergency services’ response. She added that “people are dying on the streets waiting for ambulances”.

Stephen Sheldon, the North Wales service manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said “We are deeply sorry to hear about Mrs Rolfe’s experience, and know how distressing it will have been for her and those around her as they waited for our help.

“Unfortunately, her experience is not unique, and while that doesn’t lessen the distress for Mrs Rolfe, it is symptomatic of the pressures that all elements of the health and care service in Wales, and across the UK, are facing.

“It is not now uncommon for in excess of 30 per cent of our available crews to be tied up at hospitals waiting to hand over the care of patients. This means they are unable to get to patients in the community like Mrs Rolfe, resulting in very long waits for us to arrive.”

Published by anthonyhayble

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