Six-hour ambulance wait for elderly woman after heavy fall in Melton town centre

An elderly woman was told she would have to wait six hours for an ambulance after falling and injuring herself in Melton town centre earlier this week.
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The lady, who is understood to be 90-years-old, tripped over a kerb and fell heavily on her face around 1pm while visiting the Tuesday street market and sustained cuts and facial injuries, including what onlookers feared was a broken nose.

Other shoppers came to help her as she lay on the ground in the Market Place and they were unhappy to hear that no ambulances were available until 7pm at the earliest.

East Midlands Ambulance Service say the delay was because the lady’s injuries were not deemed to be urgent or life-threatening so services were used for more serious cases.

Former police officer Bob Atkin, who was visiting the town from his home in St Neots, went to the woman’s aid after seeing her in distress, at around 1pm.

He contacted the Melton Times to tell us: “Being First Aid-trained from my 30 years with Cambridgeshire Police, until I retired 20 years ago, I went to help the lady and asked a nearby stallholder to call for an ambulance.

"I then relayed the ladies’ personal details and injuries to him whilst I stayed with her, helped by a nursing-trained lady.

"The response from the ambulance service was unbelievable and totally unacceptable, that they would attend in six hours.”

Mr Atkin, who eventually walked the injured woman over to a town hairdresser’s where she had an appointment, said he made an online complaint about the incident to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) but had not yet received a response.

Charlotte Walker, the EMAS head of operations for Leicestershire, said: “Based on the information provided to us by the caller, the condition of the patient was not deemed to be life-threatening or urgent and so a long wait for an ambulance was anticipated while we attended more serious emergencies.

“The patient made the correct decision to make their own way to hospital and therefore cancelled the ambulance.

“If the patient would like to discuss their experience with us, we are happy to do so and urge them to contact our Patient Experience Team.”