Grieving son slams ambulance delay after his mother, 93, was forced to wait almost SIX hours when she suffered a fall 'because 999 call was cancelled to improve figures'
- Isobel 'Peggy' Garrad passed away in hospital of pneumonia and chest sepsis
- The pensioner passed away last week, but fell at home on December 10
- Ms Garrad's son, David, said someone cancelled her original call for help
- East of England Ambulance Services has issued an apology for the delay
A 93-year-old woman waited nearly six hours for an ambulance after suffering a serious fall at home, her bereaved son has claimed.
Isobel 'Peggy' Garrad passed away in hospital of pneumonia and chest sepsis last week after she was injured in a freak accident in her bedroom on December 10.
The pensioner's carers in Mistley, Essex, immediately called for an ambulance at 12.45pm - but paramedics did not arrive at the scene until 6.30pm.
Ms Garrad's son David called emergency services again at 4.45pm asking about the delay. He was told by an ambulance worker that someone had 'been a bit naughty' and cancelled the first call to help 'improve their figures'.
Following the shocking admission, Mr Garrad said he feels that his mother was 'let down' by the service and is now preparing to file an official complaint.
Isobel 'Peggy' Garrad, 93, passed away in hospital of pneumonia and chest sepsis last week after she was injured in a freak accident in her bedroom on December 10
He said: 'Yes it's (the NHS) creaking, yes it's under pressure but I feel my mother was let down.
'I feel like if she was seen by someone more quickly... my mum could have been treated at home and perhaps even not have to have gone to hospital.
'She died from chest sepsis and pneumonia.'
Mr Garrad did heap praise on the emergency services once they arrived, but he said the long wait only highlights the increasing pressure which the NHS is seemingly crumbling underneath.
He added: 'I am gravely disappointed with how my mother was treated.
'We waited for five and a half hours, nearly six hours for the ambulance to arrive.
'When the actual crew got there they were great, I can't fault their care.
'There was something that worried me, one of them said to me that and I quote, 'They've been a bit naughty here, they have logged the request as 16.45 and cancelled the original to help their figures'.
'With that said and what happened that day I think something really needs to be said, because the whole system is not working.'
East of England Ambulance Service has apologised for its unacceptable delay and has launched an investigation into the matter.
An EEAST spokesman said: 'The delay in an ambulance arriving was due to demand on the service owing to adverse weather conditions on 10th December, the severe pressures on the service and the ongoing problem of delays regarding hospital handovers.
'Snow crippled the region on this day and while the Trust declared an internal major incident to do all it could to deliver its services to the public, it still experienced some severe delays. 'The Trust's initial investigations show the call was handled appropriately through the triage system within the emergency operations centre.
'The first call was made to 999 at 1.04pm stating an elderly lady had experienced a fall. The call was made by a carer who said they would remain with the patient. A second call was made at 1.32pm, during which the caller was told that owing to the severe pressure there were delays of up to six hours.
'At 4.44pm a third 999 call was made by the son of the patient and in this call, he highlighted the patient was less alert and their condition had worsened. The call was then recategorised in line with the Ambulance System Indicators and was given a higher level of response.
'Following this, the ambulance arrived on scene at 5.10pm, left the address at 6.32pm to take the patient to Colchester Hospital, where they arrived at 7.04pm.
'The Trust would like to apologise for any distress caused to the patient's family as a result of the wait and would urge them to get in contact to further address any complaint.'
Ms Garrad's death comes just days after an 81-year-old woman in nearby Clacton, Essex, passed away after a four-hour delay.
The pensioner called 999 at around 8pm on New Year's Day suffering with chest pains but emergency services did not arrive until 11.46pm.
Figures published last week has revealed some 16,900 people were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes in ambulances to be seen by staff at A&E over the Christmas week - the highest total this winter.
An extra 4,734 ambulances had a wait of at least an hour - despite guidelines saying this should take no longer than 15 minutes - during the week ending New Year's Eve.
Pensioner endured 14-hour wait for a bed in A&E as NHS crisis deepens
A pensioner has told how he was forced to wait for a bed for 14 hours in A&E in a stark illustration of the winter crisis gripping the NHS.
Raymond Horner, from Bishop Auckland, said he was 'shouting in pure agony' in the A&E department at Darlington Memorial Hospital, as staff struggled to cope with the number of patients and the lack of available beds.
The family of the 84-year-old said the department was 'horrendously busy' when they visited just before the New Year, and said patients were having to sit on the floor as they waited to be seen by medical staff.
They also criticised the lack of A&E services at Bishop Auckland Hospital, which they live just a mile away from.
Raymond Horner was forced to wait for a bed for 14 hours in A&E in a stark illustration of the winter crisis gripping the NHS
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delays patients have faced, while Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman described Mr Horner's experience as 'very distressing'.
Nationally, Prime Minister Theresa May has already apologised for delays to operations and hospital admissions across the country and, yesterday, an 81-year-old woman from Essex was found dead in her house after waiting almost four hours for an ambulance to arrive when she called 999 complaining of chest pains.
Mr Horner, who used to work as a postman, had previously spent a month in hospital after being diagnosed with urosepsis, but returned home before the New Year.
However, he had to return to A&E last Friday at 7pm to have a blocked catheter changed, and had to wait three hours before he could be seen.
Shirley Horner, his sister-in-law, said: 'He was in agony - he was shouting and crying and saying he wanted to die.
'We didn't know what to do to help him - the staff at the hospital were brilliant but they were so overstretched.'
After returning home, Mr Horner had to return to the A&E department at midnight after developing complications, but he then had to wait 14 hours waiting on a trolley before a bed was available.
'Our NHS seems to be in the worst state ever - I used to be a nurse and I think
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delays patients have faced
it has changed for the worse,' said his sister-in-law.
'An 84-year-old man went through total agony over many hours when it could have been sorted at Bishop Auckland if the services had not been taken away.'
Despite living just a mile away from Bishop Auckland Hospital, the family were still forced to make two trips to the A&E department in Darlington.
'We have a perfectly good hospital on our doorstep and it cannot be used to change a catheter,' said Ms Horner.
'It was a very good hospital but now it is more or less gone.'
Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, said: 'This is a very distressing experience and the direct result of Tory underfunding of the NHS over seven years.
'The winter spike in demand was totally predictable and could have been prevented had the PM taken the right decisions at budget time before Christmas.
'Cuts to Durham County Council have also left social care in a mess and that
has an obvious knock on effect when it comes to older people.'
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: 'County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, like many hospital trusts, is experiencing very high numbers of patients presenting at our emergency departments, as well as a high number of admissions and demand for beds.
'Our staff are working incredibly hard to manage these pressures but the number of patients we are seeing means that there have been longer waits in our emergency departments and in admitting patients to wards.
'We would like to apologise to any patients who have experienced a delay but express our appreciation for the public's support and understanding while we work to provide safe care during this busy period.'
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