Anger after boy, 12, waits more than two hours for ambulance after falling off a swing and landing on his head

PUBLISHED: 11:02 15 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:02 15 July 2014

Oliver Hendry, 12, had a lucky escape after falling off a swing. He is pictured with his mother Sarah, father Andrew and sister Charlotte.

Oliver Hendry, 12, had a lucky escape after falling off a swing. He is pictured with his mother Sarah, father Andrew and sister Charlotte.


A 12-year-old boy who fell off a swing and landed on his head had to lie still, in pain, and wait more than two hours for an ambulance.

Young Oliver Hendry’s father Andrew was advised after calling 999 to not move him and feared doing so could lead to paralysis.

The East of England Ambulance Service has admitted the delay was “unacceptable”, apologised and promised to investigate.

The Reepham High School pupil fell off the back of a swing in the playground in Guist Road, Foulsham, near Fakenham, at 7.55pm on Saturday and waited until 10.12pm for an ambulance.

Oliver, who lives in Foulsham, was with his father, mother Sarah and sister Charlotte, 10.

He was checked out by paramedics at the scene who decided he did not need to go to hospital and he returned to school yesterday.

But his family is angry and demanding answers.

Mr Hendry, 40, said: “When we called they asked if he was bleeding, breathing or had broken any bones.

“When I said no, they said they had other more urgent calls to deal with.

“I called once every half hour afterwards to see where they were and kept being told they would be here as soon as possible. I wanted reassurance they were on their way, but they couldn’t give it.

“I couldn’t tell how serious the situation was so surely someone at the end of the phone couldn’t either.

“Fortunately Oliver is okay, but it’s a worrying situation. I know they have limited resources but there comes a time when surely you need to stop cutting and start spending.”

An ambulance service spokesman said: “We apologise for the unacceptable delay and assure Andrew and his family that we are investigating the incident to help understand why it happened and prevent such delays from happening again.

“Andrew has contacted us directly about the incident and we are currently liaising with him to keep him updated with the investigation.

“So far this year we have made job offers to 300 student paramedics, and we continue to recruit in order to increase the numbers of staff available to respond to our patients, as well as putting more ambulances on the road so that we can reduce delays and provide a better service to our patients.”


  • SFB, I'm not disagreeing with you about the young lad waiting, it is totally unacceptable. What I'm saying by inappropriate calls attended that night were: back ache with 5 month history, cough for 3 weeks, sore shoulder etc these are primary care issues, not 999 issues. This is the reason why the boy had to wait! What I'm saying is maybe the paper government should concentrate on educating the public about what 999 is actually for.... Thanks for your input 999gsi, it all makes sense now with footyboy's stupid comments!

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    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • newuser07,you have to remember ladyboy16 is a bitter failed fireman who now drives a lorry,but is an expert on medicine... love this Daily Mail story..child fell off a swing,was seen by a paramedic and was left at home... Not sure what the parents are trying to achieve by this non story...

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    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • As both a mother and a member of the healthcare service I can see all points of view here. But at the end of the day the parents are not medically trained and did what they thought was best for their child who was in pain and had received trauma that could have developed into something more serious. No one is slating the paramedics that do a great job, but is it really constructive to say that because staff were overworked and did not receive breaks that it is acceptable for a boy in pain to be left for two hours? I have been involved in scenarios when the injury appears minor but complications arise. At the end of the day we should be joining forces to fight for a better service for patients and better working conditions for frontline ambulance staff.

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    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Surprise, surprise footyboy16 has piped up again. I agree this is not acceptable, but Saturday the East of England Ambulance service received over 3000 calls, most of them inappropriate, if I'm not mistaken 999 is for life threatening emergencies.. no?! Not for staff to be stuck on scene dealing with primary medical issues or chronic aches and pains! Staff worked that night 13+ hours and had their breaks postponed due to demand. Give them a break!!

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    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Be better off calling the AA they will get there quicker. There could of been internal bleeding. broken bones are not visable, he could of had concusion. the word useless comes to mind yet again.

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    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Sorry to be harsh but looks like the ambulance service got it spot on. Asked if the lad had bleeding, broken bones or breathing difficulties and he didn't and it turns out there was nothing wrong with him. Kids fall over, you don't always have to ring an ambulance.

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    Steady On

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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