Woman, 90, waits for ambulance for six hours on bathroom floor after fall at Norfolk home

Peter Lunniss waited for more than six hours for an ambulance rapid response vehicle. Photo: Steve A

Peter Lunniss waited for more than six hours for an ambulance rapid response vehicle. Photo: Steve Adams

Elderly patients were waiting for up to six-and-a-half hours for ambulances in Norfolk over the weekend as the service was stretched by hundreds of emergency calls.

Annie and Aubrey Kerridge, from Beatty Road, Norwich, waited with their neighbour Peter Lunniss, for

Annie and Aubrey Kerridge, from Beatty Road, Norwich, waited with their neighbour Peter Lunniss, for six-and-a-half hours after Mr Lunniss, 90, fell and banged his head on Saturday July 1. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

They included a 90-year-old man with a bleeding head who waited from 5.30pm on Saturday until midnight for a paramedic after falling in his kitchen in Norwich.

In another case, a 90-year-old woman lay on her bathroom floor in Horstead for six hours.

And in a third case an 86-year-old man in a 'desperate state' waited for two hours in Chedgrave while 'thrashing around' in pain, according to his wife.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) said it responded to 400 emergency calls in Norfolk over the weekend and staff were facing 'considerable pressures'.


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All three cases were classed as needing a 'Green' response which is less urgent. The target is to get to 75pc of these calls within 30 minutes.

But figures for April - the latest month data is available for - show the EEAST is a long way behind that in every area it covers.

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In Norwich it is getting to 47pc of non-life threatening calls called 'Green 2' in 30 minutes. In South Norfolk and North Norfolk the figure is 43pc.

Retired chartered surveyor Peter Lunniss fell in his kitchen on Beatty Road, south Norwich, at around 5.30pm on Saturday.

Tony Sadler, from Chedgrave, who waited nearly two hours for an ambulance. Picture: CHRISTINA SADLER

Tony Sadler, from Chedgrave, who waited nearly two hours for an ambulance. Picture: CHRISTINA SADLER - Credit: Christina Sadler

His neighbours, Annie and Aubrey Kerridge, were alerted and found the 90-year-old with a wound on the top of his head. They called for an ambulance.

'When I rang they said it could be up to five hours,' said Mr Kerridge, 74. 'It was not life-threatening, but it needed attention.'

They waited and called the EEAST back after around five hours to be told they were on the list.

'If they had said, 'we are in serious trouble can you be patient?' you kind of think I don't mind, but we were left,' said Mrs Kerridge, 70. 'I don't want other people to have to go through what Peter did.'

Mr Lunniss said the staff who did finally treat him were excellent, but even when a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle arrived to take him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, he had to wait for treatment.

'By the time I was discharged in the morning I had been awake for 24 hours,' he said.

•'Thrashing around' in pain

The partner of a man who had to wait over two hours for an ambulance while 'thrashing around' in pain is calling for a review of the system.

Self-employed Christina Sadler, from Church Close in Chedgrave, had to hold down her 86-year-old husband Tony who fell out of his bed in the early hours of Sunday.

Mrs Sadler called 999 at 5.20am.

'He was thrashing around and talked about this horrendous pain in his groin,' she said.

The first ambulance arrived at 7.15am but its two staff members were unable to move Mr Sadler so called another double-staffed ambulance which arrived at 8.21am. The second ambulance took him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Mrs Sadler added: 'Every single person I dealt with from the ambulance service and at the hospital was amazing but they are trying to do the impossible. Do we have enough resources?'

•Waiting for hours on bathroom floor

A 90-year-old widow had to wait nearly six hours on her bathroom floor for an ambulance after falling over.

Joyce, from Horstead, who lives on her own, fell on the hard floor in the early hours of Sunday morning which alerted a response service via an emergency bell.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust was called via that organisation at 1.36am.

Carers from Norfolk Swift Response were first on the scene to help the elderly woman followed by her daughter, Sue Cawley, 60, from North Walsham, at 3am.

Mrs Cawley, a carer for 30 years, stayed with her mother who had to remain on the floor until the ambulance arrived at 7.29am which took her to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The 90-year-old did not suffer any head injuries and remained conscious but was 'agitated'.

Mrs Cawley said: 'It was stressful. They [the ambulance service] said they had a very busy night.'

A spokesman for the EEAST apologised for the waits. 'Whilst we strive to provide an excellent service to our patients, on this occasion we haven't met the high standards expected by ourselves and the families we help,' he said.

•Do you have a story about the health service? Email geraldine.scott@archant.co.uk

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