Young mother forced to wait six hours for ambulance after falling down stairs and hitting head
- Credit: Archant
A young mother who suffered a neck injury after falling down a staircase was forced to wait more than six hours for an ambulance.
Amy Senior, 23, tumbled down the stairs of her Aylsham home on Sunday night after her ankle gave way at the top.
The mother-of-one was left lying at the bottom with injuries to her neck, head and ankle.
Her husband Ashley, 28, immediately called the ambulance at around 10pm, but was warned it could be another six hours before it arrived.
When he suggested bringing her to hospital, he claimed the operator told him not to move his wife to avoid further injury.
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'I was panicking, because it's not the usual situation you have to deal with,' Mr Senior said.
'She was left lying on the floor and I was trying to stop her from going to sleep.
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'We did not know what was going on with her neck and it swelled up quite badly.'
The window fitter said the ambulance operator told him that the service was under a 'lot of pressure' during the evening.
'When I asked if it would really be six hours, he said that was the worst case scenario,' Mr Senior claimed.
He said he received a call from the hospital at around 1am stating that the next available ambulance would be directed to them.
But the hospital allegedly told him if another life-threatening call came through, the ambulance would be diverted.
Two-and-a-half-hours later, at 3.30am, Mr Senior called the ambulance service asking for an update.
'I said 'what the hell is going on' and they told me they had more emergencies to attend.
'I thought sod this and started looking at moving my wife and putting her in the car.'
With the help of his wife's step dad, they managed to get her into their car and he called 999 again.
Moments later, at around 4.05am, he said an ambulance turned up.
'The ambulance guys were really nice chaps, and they had a look at her while she was in the car,' Mr Senior said.
'They said no way are you taking her [because of her injury] and we went in the ambulance.'
He said his wife was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by ambulance.
'It turns out she was okay,' Mr Senior said. 'But we did not think that when it first happened.
'The whole thing was a bit of a shambles.'
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Trust apologised to Mrs Senior and her family for any distress caused by the wait.
The trust said it received 3,400 calls on January 21, of which 550 were in Norfolk.
'Between 10pm and 3.45am we attempted to dispatch eight separate ambulance crews to the patient, which had to be diverted to life-threatening emergencies,' the spokesman said.
'A clinician in one of our control rooms called at about 1am and another welfare call was attempted at 2.30am.
'An ambulance crew attended at just after 4am and took the patient to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further care.
'We'd urge the patient or her family to get in touch with the Trust directly if they have any further concerns or questions.'
• What are your experiences of the service? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click this link to read more about the pressures facing our region's ambulance trust: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/ambulance-east-england-demand-norfolk-1-5363221