Ten hour ambulance wait for Midhurst area woman with suspected skull fracture

Midhurst county councillor Dr Kate O'Kelly
Midhurst county councillor Dr Kate O'Kelly

A woman in the Midhurst area had to wait ten hours for an ambulance after suffering a suspected skull fracture.

The recent incident has been raised by Lib Dem county councillor Kate O’Kelly at County Hall.

She described how after the 999 call was made to the ambulance service a neighbour, who is a retired nurse, had several ‘fraught conversations’ with call handlers who were ‘not convinced it was an emergency’.

Dr O’Kelly said: “It became apparent when the paramedics arrived at about 5.40 in the morning that she had clinical signs suggestive of a skull fracture.”

The patient was then taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

She asked if it was an isolated incident and how response times compared to before the closure of Midhurst Ambulance Station last year.

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are extremely sorry it took us far longer than it should have to attend to the patient concerned and we have recently been contacted regarding this delayed response.

“We have a duty to prioritise immediately life-threatening calls, and while we are working hard to improve response times across our region, there are times when demand for our services means we are unable to reach some patients as quickly as we would like.

“We treat any such concerns very seriously and are undertaking a full investigation into this delay, which is clearly unacceptable, and will report back to the complainant directly.

“In the meantime we should like to convey our sincere apologies to the patient and her friend, and our best wishes for their recovery.”

Paramedics are still able to respond from Midhurst Ambulance Station as it serves as one of a network of Ambulance Community Response Posts.

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