Stevenage man, 83, left to bleed on the floor in hour-long ambulance wait

The health service has been accused of a lack of care

The health service has been accused of a lack of care - Credit: Archant

A man has berated the health service for “a total lack of care” after his 83-year-old diabetic father-in-law was left bleeding on the floor for more than an hour following a fall, waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

John Gardiner, of Brighton Way in Stevenage, fell in his kitchen at home at about 5.10pm on February 8.

His son-in-law John Davis said it resulted “in a serious cut to the back of his left hand, and a rip in his skin that flapped half his skin back on his inner left elbow, leaving him immobilised on the floor as his wife does not have the strength to pick him up and was also in a state of total panic.”

Mr Gardiner’s wife phoned 111 – the NHS service used when you need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency.

“They said they would summon a paramedic and to leave my father-in-law on the ice cold floor until they arrived,” said Mr Davis.

“Fifty minutes after the phone call they still had not arrived, so my mother-in-law contacted me.

“I contacted 111 again and asked why the paramedic had not arrived. Their attitude was ‘if you’re not happy, ring 999’, which I did. They did not deem it as urgent, even after being told he was in a state of shock, diabetic and bleeding quite severely.” Mr Davis resorted to taking his father-in-law to Lister Hospital in Stevenage himself.

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“They would have been happy to leave an 83-year-old man in shock, laying on a freezing cold floor,” Mr Davis said.

“He had over 30 stitches and was admitted overnight because his heartbeat had become erratic due to the trauma and lack of medication.”

He added: “Leaving an 83-year-old injured man, who is diabetic and bleeding badly on the floor for possibly the best part of two hours is not acceptable and shows total disrespect for a man who has worked all his life, paid his taxes and national insurance and never been a burden to anybody. I believe it was a total lack of care of the ambulance service, and urgency of 111.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We apologise for the delay in getting an ambulance to Mr Gardiner. The call was passed to the ambulance service from 111 at 5.36pm and we immediately dispatched an ambulance to come to his aid. Our ambulance crew were travelling on blue lights to treat Mr Gardiner and were five minutes away when, unfortunately, they were diverted to a lady in her 90s with a head injury who was deemed as needing more urgent care.

“Mr Davis called 999 at 6.08pm. During this call a paramedic was dispatched, but Mr Davis told the call handler he would take Mr Gardiner to hospital so the paramedic was stood down.”

Lesley Watts, chief executive of the East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions the 111 service in Hertfordshire, said: “Overall the NHS 111 service in Hertfordshire is working well. We take any concerns raised very seriously and will be looking into this case and asking Herts Urgent Care, which provides the NHS 111 service in Hertfordshire, and the ambulance service to review what happened.”