Elderly Eastbourne woman’s ‘excruciating’ five and a half hour wait for ambulance

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A husband has spoken out after he had to hold his wife in his arms for almost five and a half hours in ‘excruciating pain’ while waiting for an ambulance.

Brian Newby is hoping to highlight the pressures the service is under after his wife Beryl, 82, was left screaming in pain when she dislocated her hip on February 20.

The 76-year-old of Macquarie Quay, Sovereign Harbour, said he called 999 at 10.15pm. But emergency services did not arrive until 3.35am.

Mr Newby said, “The pain was excruciating for her. She was screaming, I held her for hours.

“We had no means of getting pain relief. How can you let a lady lay there in my arms for that long before an ambulance? If it had happened in the street she would have died of hypothermia.”

He said he did not have any success trying to call a doctor to get pain relief. Mr Newby said he called the emergency services five times and was told they were ‘frightfully busy’.

But the pensioner praised the ambulance team when they did arrive. He said, “They were fantastic and so was the service at hospital. They were full of sympathy. They are really struggling under pressure, they don’t have the manpower or ambulance power.”

Now Beryl is having rehabilitation – something Mr Newby believes could have been avoided if she hadn’t had to wait so long.

A spokesperson for SECAmb said the wait was five hours and twenty minutes – it aims to respond to such calls within two hours.

The spokesperson apologised for the wait and said, “We were very busy at the time of the call, meaning it was taking us longer than we would like to respond to patients not in a life-threatening condition.

“We appreciate Mrs Newby would have been in a great deal of pain and discomfort. We would like to wish her a good recovery and we are very sorry we could not be with her sooner to help her.”