Fire service helps Southend woman during 90-minute wait for ambulance

Fire service helps woman during 90-minute wait for ambulance

Fire service helps woman during 90-minute wait for ambulance

First published in South Essex by

AN INJURED woman was helped by the fire service after an ambulance took an hour and a half to arrive.

Southend firefighters gave the 88-year-old woman oxygen and stayed with her after she tripped on a paving slab outside BHS in High Street, Southend, at 11.45am yesterday.

The woman, from Thorpe Bay, started suffering chest pains and was struggling to breathe so the passing firefighters stopped to help.

The ambulance service responded to an emergency call a minute later, but that was diverted to a higher priority call so the woman waited 90 minutes for an ambulance to take her to hospital.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I had come out to do some shopping and get my glasses repaired and I tripped on a paving stone.

“I was lying on my face so I don’t knowwho helped me, but I was very fortunate people did.

“I don’t know if I have done anything to my ribs, but I wanted to get to hospital to check it.

I’m disappointed the ambulance took so long to get here.”

Passers-by, including off-duty paramedic Kate Simmons, helped the woman alongside firefighters until an ambulance arrived.

Barry May, Southend fire station officer, said: “We were driving down Alexandra Street and saw a woman on the ground so we stopped to help. We gave her oxygen as a comforting device and called the ambulance which we were told was diverted to a high priority casualty. We thought we would hang around to offer support. Then we left the lady in the support of the off-duty paramedic.”

The East of England Ambulance Service sent a paramedic to the scene once the ambulance had been diverted to another category.

A spokesman said: “We want to thank our colleagues in the fire service for keeping the lady comfortable and we hope she has a speedy recovery.

“An ambulance was immediately dispatched, but this had to be diverted to an elderly lady with potentially life threatening chest pain.

“We had a paramedic on scene at 12.22am who carried out their assessments and requested an ambulance which arrived at 1.15pm to take the lady to Southend Hospital for further care.”

Under current guidelines, an ambulance should reach anyone suffering with chest pains within eight minutes, but the ambulance service claims it was not aware of that fact.

Service is struggling, says paramedic

THE off-duty paramedic who stopped to help claimed the service had been struggling to respond to emergency calls for months.

Kate Simmons said this was partly down to delays in dropping off patients at Southend Hospital.

She said: “Our protocol is if someone has pain in their chest and shortness of breath it’s an eight-minute emergency response.

“If it is in a public place it is a blue light immediate eight - minute response.

“The ambulances are regularly queuing at the hospital to offload their patients because there are no beds. There were probably are six ambulances at the hospital within an eight minute response time, but they still have patients in them.

“It’s frustrating, especially if you have someone in a car waiting with someone who is very ill and waiting to get them in the hospital.

“Luckily I was passing, but I have no kit with me and I am only as good as my hands and head.”

A spokesman for Southend Hospital said they were not experiencing “anything unusual” at A&E yesterday despite the Echo spotting six ambulances waiting outside yesterday afternoon.

The spokesman added: “We haven’t had anything out of the ordinary for the last couple of weeks.”

A spokesman for the ambulance service added: “We work closely with Southend Hospital during busy periods to minimise delays as much as possible and our turnaround times are generally very good.”

Comments (9)

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9:59am Fri 29 Aug 14

Bosniavet says...

Hope the lady concerned makes a full recovery. Based on what the off-duty paramedic said it seems that EAS needs to recruit more staff, not just advertise for already qualified paramedics as they have been doing. Sure many would be interested in EMT/Ambulance Care Assistant posts.....
Hope the lady concerned makes a full recovery. Based on what the off-duty paramedic said it seems that EAS needs to recruit more staff, not just advertise for already qualified paramedics as they have been doing. Sure many would be interested in EMT/Ambulance Care Assistant posts..... Bosniavet
  • Score: -2

10:30am Fri 29 Aug 14

emcee says...

Moral of the story: If you are planning to have a sudden illness or an accident, do not live in the East of England.
Attrocious, absolutely atrocious.
Moral of the story: If you are planning to have a sudden illness or an accident, do not live in the East of England. Attrocious, absolutely atrocious. emcee
  • Score: 2

11:12am Fri 29 Aug 14

Now listen for I have something to say says...

Always a Convenient excuse from the Ambulance service, service ?
Always a Convenient excuse from the Ambulance service, service ? Now listen for I have something to say
  • Score: -3

1:05pm Fri 29 Aug 14

MarcelloM says...

"The ambulance service responded to an emergency call a minute later, but that was diverted to a higher priority call"

Perhaps Southend Hospital should invest in a second ambulance so they can answer two emergencies at the same time?
"The ambulance service responded to an emergency call a minute later, but that was diverted to a higher priority call" Perhaps Southend Hospital should invest in a second ambulance so they can answer two emergencies at the same time? MarcelloM
  • Score: -6

3:57pm Fri 29 Aug 14

pussycats says...

The fact that an off-duty paramedic was there, and was able to do a quick assessment and report, was decisive in the Ambulance response. Well done Kate Simmons. Talk about about being there, at, the right time at the right moment! By you being there, with this poor lady and using your professionalism. you allowed another, urgent, casualty to be helped. By coincidence, the fire service was passing and stopped to help. All of our emergency services do a very difficult and brilliant job. Just as Nurses, and Paramedics, do, not just within their profession, but in their every day lives, as I know so well.
The fact that an off-duty paramedic was there, and was able to do a quick assessment and report, was decisive in the Ambulance response. Well done Kate Simmons. Talk about about being there, at, the right time at the right moment! By you being there, with this poor lady and using your professionalism. you allowed another, urgent, casualty to be helped. By coincidence, the fire service was passing and stopped to help. All of our emergency services do a very difficult and brilliant job. Just as Nurses, and Paramedics, do, not just within their profession, but in their every day lives, as I know so well. pussycats
  • Score: 19

5:55pm Fri 29 Aug 14

bellend1 says...

Load of ****. Third rate health service. Life in a right wing country I guess
Load of ****. Third rate health service. Life in a right wing country I guess bellend1
  • Score: -8

6:58pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Mystery-man says...

The EoEAS is well under their way with staff recruitment and additional vehicles are in place in some areas. They are training up existing staff to a higher clinical level as well as having to train the new staff. These are not instant fixes but also they are not the real problem. The big issue is the way the ambulance service is being abused by people who haven't bothered to, or can't get an appointment see their GP and by people who should be making their own way to a medical facility or a pharmacist for advice. The EoEAS already receive approx 2,500 - 3,000 calls per day and via the use of telephone consultations reduce the number of ambulance attendances by approx 400-500 per day. The ambulance service has it's faults as does any large company but the staff work tirelessly throughout their 12 hour shifts with only a half hour meal break and often late finishes. We could happily work in an office with longer breaks, access to toilets and drinks but we do this job for the patients. Whilst the ambulance in this case took longer than anyone would have liked, the patients who are potentially life threatening have to come first. I hope the lady in question was given a clean bill of health and is now back at home. If you ever feel like you need to call 999 just take a quick moment to think if it is life threatening or could it be dealt with by a more appropriate means. Thanks.
The EoEAS is well under their way with staff recruitment and additional vehicles are in place in some areas. They are training up existing staff to a higher clinical level as well as having to train the new staff. These are not instant fixes but also they are not the real problem. The big issue is the way the ambulance service is being abused by people who haven't bothered to, or can't get an appointment see their GP and by people who should be making their own way to a medical facility or a pharmacist for advice. The EoEAS already receive approx 2,500 - 3,000 calls per day and via the use of telephone consultations reduce the number of ambulance attendances by approx 400-500 per day. The ambulance service has it's faults as does any large company but the staff work tirelessly throughout their 12 hour shifts with only a half hour meal break and often late finishes. We could happily work in an office with longer breaks, access to toilets and drinks but we do this job for the patients. Whilst the ambulance in this case took longer than anyone would have liked, the patients who are potentially life threatening have to come first. I hope the lady in question was given a clean bill of health and is now back at home. If you ever feel like you need to call 999 just take a quick moment to think if it is life threatening or could it be dealt with by a more appropriate means. Thanks. Mystery-man
  • Score: 19

2:54pm Sun 31 Aug 14

_Lotus_ says...

Bosniavet wrote:
Hope the lady concerned makes a full recovery. Based on what the off-duty paramedic said it seems that EAS needs to recruit more staff, not just advertise for already qualified paramedics as they have been doing. Sure many would be interested in EMT/Ambulance Care Assistant posts.....
I am not sure why this poster's comment got thumbs down, because there is nothing whatsoever wrong with what they are saying!
[quote][p][bold]Bosniavet[/bold] wrote: Hope the lady concerned makes a full recovery. Based on what the off-duty paramedic said it seems that EAS needs to recruit more staff, not just advertise for already qualified paramedics as they have been doing. Sure many would be interested in EMT/Ambulance Care Assistant posts.....[/p][/quote]I am not sure why this poster's comment got thumbs down, because there is nothing whatsoever wrong with what they are saying! _Lotus_
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Sun 31 Aug 14

cgb says...

The ambulance service responded to an emergency call a minute later, but that was diverted to a higher priority call"

Perhaps Southend Hospital should invest in a second ambulance so they can answer two emergencies at the same time?

Get your facts right MarcelloM. The ambulance service is absolutely nothing to do with Southend hospital and vice versa They are two completely separate 'businesses' in effect.
An good of the ambilance service to blame the hospital when Southend has the best turnaround figures in the East of England for ambulances dropping of at A&E. I don't blame any paramedic who are doing a really tough job- it's the resources and management behind the service that needs lloking at from the government down. Plus all the idiots who think it is a taxi service not for life threatening injuries and illnesses
The ambulance service responded to an emergency call a minute later, but that was diverted to a higher priority call" Perhaps Southend Hospital should invest in a second ambulance so they can answer two emergencies at the same time? Get your facts right MarcelloM. The ambulance service is absolutely nothing to do with Southend hospital and vice versa They are two completely separate 'businesses' in effect. An good of the ambilance service to blame the hospital when Southend has the best turnaround figures in the East of England for ambulances dropping of at A&E. I don't blame any paramedic who are doing a really tough job- it's the resources and management behind the service that needs lloking at from the government down. Plus all the idiots who think it is a taxi service not for life threatening injuries and illnesses cgb
  • Score: 3

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