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Elderly lady lay on freezing ground for 2.5 hours with broken hip deemed ‘not a priority’

Ambulance

An elderly lady who fell and broke her hip lay on the freezing ground for almost three hours before an ambulance turned up – all because she wasn’t deemed a “priority”.

The woman suffered the severe injury after falling badly in the Brownlow area of Co. Armagh on Friday.

Despite the woman’s age and obvious excruciating pain, the Ambulance Service said she was not deemed an emergency – so much so she had to wait two and a half hours before a crew arrived.

SDLP councillor Thomas Larkham said he was aghast at the time it took but stressed it was no reflection on any ambulance / paramedic staff or support workers whom, he said, “go above and beyond the call of duty”.

He did however admit it was a reflection of a system in “a deep crisis and in desperate need of repair”.

Explaining the situation, councillor Larkham stated: “An elderly lady fell and broke her hip today in the Brownlow area.

“She lay on a freezing cold floor in excruciating pain for two and a half hours before an ambulance arrived to treat her.

“Just think about that for a moment – an elderly lady lying on a freezing cold floor, in excruciating pain for 2.5 hours before an ambulance arrived.

“There was a genuine concern at one point that this lady had been forgotten about by NIAS as it was taking that long for them to arrive.

“After several calls we were informed that she was not deemed a priority case (Cat C) and a timeframe for an available crew could not be given.

“Seriously. Is this a sign of things to come? I have asked my colleague Dolores Kelly to ask questions from the Department of Health and to seek clarity on NIAS response times in the Craigavon area.

“I will keep you updated as the matter progresses.”

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