Woman forced to wait nearly four hours for an ambulance after accident in her home

Carole Hawkins SUS-181022-100552001
Carole Hawkins SUS-181022-100552001

A woman who was badly injured after falling off a stepladder in her home ended up having to wait nearly four hours for an ambulance.

Carole Hawkins, 64, who suffers from Huntingdon’s disease, was decorating the bathroom of her home in Newtown, Copthorne, when she fell.

She alerted her daughter Joanne Francis who called the ambulance service and rushed from her home in Gossops Green, Crawley, to be with her mum.

“There was blood everywhere when I turned up,” said Joanne. “My mum had a hole at the front of her head, it was split open, and she had injured her wrists.”

Joanne grew increasingly concerned when an ambulance failed to arrive after an hour - and says she ended up making four calls to the ambulance service before a paramedic arrived more than three hours later.

Joanne, who does not drive, says an ambulance finally arrived around half an hour after and rushed Carole to East Surrey Hospital. Joanne said her mother received 20 stitches in her head and was found to have broken both her wrists, one in two places.

Carole said later: “I was waiting for the ambulance all that time. You can’t believe the amount of pain I was in.” Joanne described the lengthy wait as ‘disgusting’.

A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “We are very sorry to hear of these concerns and that we were unable to attend to Ms Francis’s mother more quickly. All our calls are triaged based on information provided by the caller in order to prioritise our response to life-threatening calls.

“This call was assigned a category 3 response which we would aim to respond to nine out of 10 times before two hours. Our records show that we arrived at the scene in approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes.

“We would invite Ms Francis to contact us directly so we can look into and investigate her concerns in more detail. We wish her mother a good recovery and we are sorry that we did not attend this call in a more timely manner.”