Pensioner’s 16-hour wait for ambulance after suffering fall

Margaret Rothery was unable to get up from the floor after falling and bumping her head.

Pensioner’s 16-hour wait for ambulance after suffering fall SWNS

A pensioner in Edinburgh was left waiting for 16 hours on an ambulance after suffering a fall.

Margaret Rothery, 98, was completing a 10-day course of antibiotics to treat a painful urinary tract infection (UTI) when she fell ill in the early hours of Saturday, August 14.

At 2pm she fell and bumped her head on the way to the bathroom at her home in Fairmilehead.

Her daughter Ruth Rothery, 72, called 999 at 2.30pm and asked for an ambulance – but it was 7am the following day when one finally arrived.

Ruth explained: “My mother was becoming increasingly unwell. The ambulance team called me every two hours from then on to apologise for delays.

“They even recommended I call the fall service because they thought it would get there more quickly.”

The mother and daughter waited 16 and a half hours for the ambulance to arrive at 7am on Sunday morning.

The fall service arrived shortly after at 7.10am.

Ruth added: “It was horrifying for my mother to have to wait. It was awful to see.”

When an ambulance arrived on Sunday morning crew members were able to help Ruth’s mother off the floor and into the ambulance.

By then she had spent nearly 14-hours on the floor.

“The crew looked absolutely exhausted when they arrived,” said Ruth.

“They apologised for our wait but said there was nothing they could do about it. They seemed as frustrated as I was.”

Margaret was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for treatment for a UTI with antibiotics.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We would like to apologise for the delay in responding to Mrs Rothery and her daughter.

“While we are limited in what we can say due to patient confidentiality, at the time of the call, we were experiencing a significant reduction in resources across Edinburgh, combined with high demand.

“During this time, our clinical advisers contacted the patient several times while waiting for a resource to become available.

“We will be reviewing this case thoroughly and will contact the patient privately to apologise.”

Statistics published last week show that 17,697 patients waited more than two hours for an ambulance in 2020/21.

Findings also revealed only 70.9 per cent of the most urgent 999 calls waited fewer than 10 minutes for an ambulance – down from 80.8 per cent in 2018/19.

A total of 125 patients waited more than 30 minutes and six patients waited more than an hour for an ambulance, despite their calls being triaged as purple, the most serious and urgent response category.

These figures were published in response to a parliamentary question from Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie who said the increase of wait times is “putting lives at risk”.

By Sarah Ward, SWNS

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