Ambulance bosses have apologised after it took an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance to arrive to help an 83-year-old woman who was injured in a fall on a zebra crossing.
Peggy Bond was walking home after voting in the EU referendum on Thursday when she fell to the ground on the zebra crossing in Bridge End Road, Grantham.
By chance, off-duty nurses and military personnel were nearby and were able to help Mrs Bond, who had to remain lying on the ground – but it was 45 minutes before a paramedic could get there and at least another 45 minutes before an ambulance arrived, having travelled from Lincoln.
Andy Hill, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) general manager for Lincolnshire, said: “We are very sorry that we were not able to respond to this call sooner.
“However, the condition of the patient was reported to be not life-threatening and so emergency calls to patients suffering, for example, a heart attack or stroke had to take priority.”
Mrs Bond’s son, Kevin, who lives with her in Houghton Road, said his mother is still in Grantham Hospital after suffering a bang to the head in the fall. She also cut an elbow and bruised her side.
Mr Bond said he was unhappy at the time it took for the ambulance to arrive. He said: “I know the service is struggling, but I think an hour-and-a-half is getting a bit silly. But the paramedics said they had been flat out all day. The first paramedic turned up after 45 minutes. She came from Spalding.”
He added: “It was very kind of everybody to help her. She fell into the crossing. One lady stopped and got out and put her handbag under her head. Another man on a push bike stopped and put his coat over her. There was a woman who lived nearby who brought out a blanket. A couple of other people were directing traffic. I would like to thank all those people who attended to her.”
A police officer has also praised the nurses and military personnel who helped Mrs Bond when she collapsed.
Pc Peter McErlean was driving home from work when he saw two military personnel controlling traffic at the zebra crossing.
He said two off-duty nurses were there treating Mrs Bond and had already been looking after her for 20 minutes.
He added: “This is a very busy road and the timely actions of the nurses and the military personnel were vital to protect the lady on the crossing. We are very grateful for their assistance and to members of the public who also offered their support.”
Traffic built up in the town as the woman was cared for.
A police traffic car arrived shortly after Pc McErlean and between the two police officers and one of the military personnel they safely controlled the incident for two hours while Mrs Bond was treated and eventually conveyed to hospital.
Witness Kirsty Price said: “I was sat in traffic, but it was refreshing to see people with her, and off-duty service personnel helping to direct traffic – before the police got there. All people involved deserve a thank you, I think.”
Rebecca Marston said: “No police were available so the army took charge.
“The police finally arrived after a gruelling 45 minutes and the ambulance didn’t show up for over an hour!”