Eighty-nine-year-old Sheringham woman left in “absolute agony” after being faced with a seven hour wait for an ambulance

Eighty-nine-year-old Tess Human of Sheringham, who had to be driven to hospital in "absolute agony"

Eighty-nine-year-old Tess Human of Sheringham, who had to be driven to hospital in "absolute agony" after being faced with a seven hour wait for an ambulance. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

An injured 89-year-old woman was left stranded in a car in excruciating pain, after being told she would have to wait seven hours for an ambulance.

Three days after being discharged from a 10-day stay in hospital, Tess Human, who has a string of health problems including heart disease, a hiatus hernia and melanoma of the eye, decided to go for a drive with her husband Ron.

'Unfortunately, I misjudged the height of the seat and as I got in, I fell onto the door frame,' Mrs Human explained. 'All I was conscious of was the pain - out of 10, it was a 10.'

With his wife in too much pain to be moved, Mr Human, 84, called on his friend and next-door-neighbour Michael Eyley for


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The pair eventually managed to lift Mrs Human across the passenger seat and phoned the Falls Prevention Service, based at Great Yarmouth.

'They said we would have to wait two hours and advised me to call 999,' Mr Human explained. 'But then when I rang the ambulance, they said that there was a seven-hour wait.

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'It was raining and freezing cold, and Tess was half in, and half out of the car,' Mr Eyley said.

A nurse eventually called back and after speaking to Mrs Human, apologised and advised Mr Human, who has heart disease and breathing problems, to drive her to A&E.

They left for the hospital approximately two hours after the accident,

Mr Eyley said: 'It was horrendous, I felt the least they could have done was to send someone to give Tess pain relief, she was in absolute agony.'

After the couple, who live at Sheringham, arrived at A&E in Norwich, doctors discovered Mrs Human had dislocated her hip

and gave her morphine and entonox (gas and air) but, because her pain was so severe, neither worked.

However, after her hip was put back in place under general anaesthetic, she almost immediately felt much better

and was discharged the following day.

'Once they got to the hospital, they were fantastic, it's just the time it took we take issue with,' Mr Eyley said. 'I can't believe they would be prepared to leave someone for seven hours, I think older people are the ones who have contributed to society and they should be a priority.'

Mrs Human, who has previously had two hip replacement operations, said: 'It has knocked my confidence, It's made me more aware of my movements as I am frightened to death my hip will let me down again.'

North Norfolk residents face ambulance service raw deal

EEAST figures show that, between April and September of this year, the eight minute target set for top priority calls was met an average of only 42.68pc of the time in north Norfolk, with the area performing worst in the whole of the trust's catchment area, which covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

An average of 35pc of north Norfolk Red 2 calls, covering less immediately time critical calls, were responded to within the same target time.

Of Green 1 calls, covering less serious emergencies, an average of 38.6pc of calls were responded to within the target time of 20 minutes.

Green 2 calls, were responded to within the target time of 30 minutes in an average of less than 30pc of cases.

East of England Ambulance Service response

An EEAST spokesperson apologised to Mrs Human and urged her to get in touch so the matter could be investigated.

EEAST added that, at the time of her accident, it had escalated to surge black, which is the highest level of demand for 999 calls.

Terry Hicks, sector head of service development, engagement and improvement for Norfolk and Waveney, said EEAST had petitioned commissioners and MPs about the capacity gap caused by a lack of funding.

He said: 'We need greater investment to recruit more staff to make improvements for our staff and patients. In north Norfolk, we have welcomed the addition of more ambulances, but we still have challenges that include the rural nature of the area and a delay with hospital handovers.'

The trust was working hard to improve, Mr Hicks said, with the introduction of a new ambulance response time programme expected to reduce waiting times.

He also urged people to think carefully before calling 999 and consider other options, including NHS 111, pharmacies, or out of hours GPs for minor ailments

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