Man who fell down stairs hits out at 'underfunded' ambulance service
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A man who suffered a head injury after falling down the stairs has hit out at an "underfunded" ambulance service after his wife had to drive him to hospital.
Ray Mooney, 65, fell down 13 steps at his home in Southrepps in the early hours of January 31.
His wife, Fiona Hall, 62, who was woken up by the crash, said: "His head had hit a wall at the bottom of the stairs. There was a growing pool of blood. He was unconscious and his breathing was really strange."
She called 999 and was told an ambulance would be sent to the house but 30 minutes later the emergency service returned the call.
"They said an ambulance would probably be five hours and if it was possible somebody could drive him to the hospital," Ms Hall said.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Demand for our services was very high when we received this call, while significant handover delays at hospitals were also having an impact on our ability to reach patients as quickly as we would like.
"In these circumstances and if telephone triage suggests the patient’s condition is not life-threatening, our clinicians may ask if they are able to make their own way to hospital," the spokesperson said.
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Ms Hall drove her husband the 45 minutes to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospita (NNUH), where CT scans showed that Mr Mooney had not broken anything but was suffering from a bleed on the brain.
He said: "I have nothing but admiration for our ambulance staff and while accepting that times are challenging with Covid, after 12 years of under-investment in our NHS by this Tory government, I feel that the chickens are coming home to roost."
Ms Hall said: "Fortunately everything was alright but I’m horrified that just because you live rurally you can’t get the same support."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressure this pandemic has put on all NHS staff.
“To help relieve these pressures, NHS England and Improvement has given ambulance trusts an extra £55 million to boost staff numbers for winter, providing over 700 additional staff in control rooms and on the frontline, alongside £1.75m to support the wellbeing of frontline ambulance staff."