26 Sep Hour and a half wait for Great Yarmouth schoolgirl, 10, who couldn’t move neck and arms
East of England Ambulance Service has offered to meet with the headteacher of a primary school, after a ten-year-old girl unable to move her neck or arms was left lying in a primary school playground for an hour and half while staff waited for an ambulance to arrive.
The girl, a year six pupil at Peterhouse Primary School in Gorleston, was playing a rough and tumble game with her friends between 11.05 and 11.10am, during morning break yesterday, when she took a fall and was unable to get up.
Headteacher Martin Scott said: “We called 999 straight away and were told that it was a priority and that an ambulance was on route.
“It got to twenty past and no one had arrived, obviously we didn’t move her because that’s the correct procedure but we covered her up and tried to keep her calm.
“She was in a lot of pain and couldn’t move, so my secretary called 999 again, and was told that the ambulance was on its way but that ambulances can’t be tracked.
“I’m an ex-policeman, and back in the 1980s we could track our vehicles so in 2015 I find it hard to believe that the ambulance service don’t know where their ambulances are.”
Staff continued to wait and the girl’s father arrived at the scene, where the girl was reportedly becoming increasingly distressed. Another call was made to the ambulance service and staff were told the same as before. Mr Scott then made a call from his personal mobile phone while waiting with the girl, at 12.35pm.
“At this point she was in significant pain, it had been around an hour and a half.
“I was very very angry and I told them that I had expected that a child would be a priority. When we’ve had incidents at school before they’ve always been here very quickly, in fact once they sent the air ambulance when no vehicles were available.
“But the operator told me that our call wasn’t a priority at the moment and that the ambulance crew will ‘be with you when they’re with you’.”
After Mr Scott’s call, an ambulance arrived within five minutes, however he was informed by the paramedic that the call had only been on their system for five minutes, and they had arrived within three minutes.
“So either there has been a system fault or someone is telling us fibs,” Mr Scott added.
“I’ve never had a complaint about the ambulance service but obviously they didn’t think this was of a significant enough level. I’m extremely angry, and so is her father.”
The girl was taken to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston for treatment, and has since been discharged with severe bruising, but Mr Scott is worried it could have been much worse.
“The ambulance service treated it as if it was a serious spinal injury, with the stretchers and all, so I want to know why dispatch didn’t.
“If they cannot cope, somebody seriously needs to be stepping in. That’s what would happen with my job in education.”
In a statement, Teresa Church, senior locality manager at East of England Ambulance Service said: “We apologise for this delay in getting to the patient. We received a call at 11.07am today, Friday September 25, to reports that a child had taken a fall.
“We assessed the call as requiring a 30 minute response and we dispatched an emergency response vehicle.
“Unfortunately these had to be diverted to patients with potentially serious condition such as a patient with breathing problems, a lady who was possibly in labour and a reported unconscious patient.
“We would be more than willing to meet with the headteacher to discuss this further.”
Mr Scott agreed that he would be happy to meet with the service to discuss the problems he experienced.
This story was provided by Great Yarmouth Mercury http://www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk/