Ambulance Watch: 88-year-old had four-hour ambulance wait after breaking her hip in north Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:11 05 October 2012

East of England Ambulance Service.

East of England Ambulance Service.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

An 88-year-old woman had a four-hour wait for an ambulance after falling and breaking her hip in the street in north Norfolk.

An experienced St John Ambulance (SJA) member who came to Nancy Porter’s aid believes her long, cold wait, in extreme pain, created a life-threatening situation.

Retired nurse and midwife Miss Porter tripped and fell on Station Road, West Runton, near Cromer, shortly after 4.30pm on September 26.

She felt her hip crack, according to qualified first-aider Janice Williams who was on her way home from SJA duty at Cromer’s Pier Pavilion Theatre when she came across the incident and stopped to help.

Another passer-by rang for an ambulance and Miss Porter was helped to a chair on the pavement to wait.

Mrs Williams, patron of Cromer St John Ambulance division, said she rang about an hour later to find out where the ambulance had got to.

A paramedic turned up at about 5.50pm and immediately got on his radio to say an ambulance was definitely needed, she said.

But it was 8.30pm before a private ambulance arrived to take Miss Porter to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she underwent a hip-replacement operation the following day. She was recovering in hospital this week.

“I suspected she had broken her hip and there was no way we could have got her into a car to take her to hospital,” said Mrs Williams, from West Runton.

“I accept that breaking a hip isn’t life threatening but after four hours she was very cold, despite numerous blankets, and in extreme pain. I think the situation had become life threatening.

“I have no criticism of the paramedic. He was brilliant, but very frustrated that the ambulance was delayed.

“It’s appalling that somebody of her age, who has given her life to the NHS, should be treated like that.”

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