Injured 89-year-old woman with broken wrist waits almost an hour for ambulance after Sheffield fall

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A frail 89-year-old woman was forced to wait almost an hour for an ambulance as she lay on the ground in driving wind and rain in Sheffield city centre with a broken wrist.

The pensioner fell over on Castle Street in Sheffield city centre on Wednesday, at about 1pm.

Passers-by and police officers came to her aid – but an ambulance did not arrive until about 2pm.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it had been ‘a very busy afternoon’.

Andrew Pugsley, a teaching assistant from Rotherham who helped the woman, said those at the scene had not wanted to move her, because they feared she had a broken hip.

Instead, they covered her with coats and put an umbrella over her while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

The woman told those helping her she had also had another recent fall, breaking her ribs after falling off a tram.

Mr Pugsley, aged 32, said several calls had been made by members of the public and the police to the ambulance service while they waited.

He said she was eventually taken to the Northern General Hospital for treatment.

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Mr Pugsley said: “With the wind and rain, we put coats on her and kept her warm.

“She was complaining of a wrist injury and lying on the concrete floor.

“She was complaining of pains in her hip and we didn’t want to move her.

“This poor lady was getting quite upset and the pain in her arm was getting worse and worse.

“We had an umbrella to try and shelter her from the wind and rain coming down.”

Lyndsay Naylor, from the Sarni’s shop on Castle Street, said she had also helped the woman.

She said: “I was disgusted. I think it is terrible for a lady of that age to be laid in the rain on a pavement for that long, but I’m not blaming the ambulance men – it is not their fault.”

Mr Pugsley said the paramedics had apologised for the wait when they arrived.

He said he could not understand why it had taken so long to get to someone in a central location.

He said: “It was in the town centre so not hard to reach. She was waiting all that time – me and another lady there were first-aid trained but we could only do so much.”

The delay comes after it was revealed this week the ambulance service has been fined more than £200,000 by the Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group for delays in reaching seriously-ill patients with possible life-threatening injuries.

Ben Holdaway, locality director of the Emergency Operations Centre at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are sorry to hear the bystander who came to the aid of the lady who had fallen is unhappy with our response to the 999 call.

“We aim to reach all of our patients as quickly as possible and our records show an ambulance arrived at the scene of the incident within 50 minutes. It was a very busy afternoon for the service and we would like to thank the bystanders for their kind actions in caring for the patient until our arrival.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do and providing a safe, responsive and high quality service to the people of Yorkshire is our main priority.”