Elderly Colney Heath man’s 999 nightmare after fall

PUBLISHED: 06:50 22 March 2012

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Archant

A 92-YEAR-OLD man who fell and banged his head was forced to rely on neighbours to take him to hospital after an ambulance failed to turn up despite three 999 calls.

George Fraser of Colney Heath was found by his neighbours after he fell and hit his head in the garden.

Although his neighbours made a 999 call at 5.07pm and three more over the next 90 minutes, no ambulance came and at 6.40pm they took Mr Fraser to the QEII in Welwyn Garden City.

Peter Fraser, his son, said he was disgusted by the ambulance service which had been informed of his father’s age and of the amount of blood coming from his head.

He said: “Thankfully, his lovely neighbours were on hand but they used three towels and a bed sheet to try and stem the blood flow. He’s an elderly man and this could have been a very serious injury.

“It would be nice if we could get an explanation about what is going on – why wasn’t an elderly man with a head injury a serious concern for the ambulance service?”

Mr Fraser was kept in hospital for two nights and Peter, who lives in Lincolnshire, is now staying with him at home while he recovers.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We are disappointed that this particular patient did not receive a high standard of service from us and would invite the family to contact us so we can carry out a thorough investigation into the matter and use any findings from that to inform how we can prevent incidents like this happening again.”

She said that they had tried to call Mr Fraser twice during the waiting period to check how he was and apologise for the delay which was due to an “unprecedented, exceptionally high demand”. But she said those calls were unanswered.

Colney Heath district councillor Chris Brazier blasted the weak response and said Mr Fraser required medical help, not phone calls.

He said: “If Mr Fraser had died, what improvement to the service would they have suggested? That they will try to turn up in future?

“To ask the family to send them a report about what went wrong is beyond stupid – the neighbours dialled 999 for an ambulance and expected one to turn up, it’s not difficult to understand.

“People pay their taxes so that this vital service is provided and there is no excuse for this kind of treatment. The simple way to improve the service is to turn up.”

Peter said his father was slowly recovering but would now undergo a series of tests to discover whether his fall was due to an underlying medical condition.

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