Eastbourne woman, 93, forced to wait six hours for ambulance

Joan Diamond, 93, suffered a broken leg in a fall at St Margaret's Care Home
Joan Diamond, 93, suffered a broken leg in a fall at St Margaret's Care Home

A 93-year-old woman had to wait for more than six hours in pain and extreme distress for an ambulance.

Joan Diamond, who has dementia, suffered a broken leg and was unable to move from where she had fallen on the bathroom floor at St Margaret’s Care Home.

Her daughter Marilyn Sweetman said of the ordeal, “That a 93-year-old should have to be left in pain and very frightened on the floor for this amount of time is, in my view, inhuman.”

An ambulance was called for Mrs Diamond at 8.20pm, and, after two more calls, a crew finally arrived at 2.30am. But then, while the crews were able to give her morphine, no one was available to help move her. The fire service was called and she was finally carried into an ambulance at 4.30am and taken to hospital.

Mrs Sweetman said, “The care home had made her as comfortable as possible bearing in mind she was lying on a lino bathroom floor in a great deal of pain. She was extremely distressed. She was asking me every five to 10 minutes ‘what’s happening, when are they coming?’

“The care home, the ambulance crew, and the fire brigade were all superb and many thanks to them for their care and kindness.”

A SECAmb spokesperson said, “We are extremely sorry for the delay involved in responding to this patient. We appreciate she would have been in a great deal of pain and discomfort and the delay will have caused additional distress.

“Demand for our service is very high and is impacting on our ability to respond to some patients as quickly as we would like as we have a duty to prioritise life-threatening calls. We hope the patient is making a good recovery and would invite her or her family to contact us so we can fully investigate.

“While this clearly was an emergency, we would like to remind the public to make use of the alternatives, including calling NHS 111, when they need assistance but it’s not an emergency.”