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Long Melford: MP labels footballer’s 90-minute for ambulance “unacceptable”

06:00 26 February 2013

Tim Yeo

Tim Yeo

Archant

AN INJURED footballer was forced to wait more than 90 minutes in agony for an ambulance.

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Now MP Tim Yeo has pledged to investigate after the player was left lying on the pitch in freezing temperatures.

Long Melford midfielder Tim Attwood fell heavily on his shoulder during the dying minutes of a Thurlow Nunn League First Division game on Saturday.

The seriousness of the injury was immediately apparent and an ambulance was called at 4.45pm. But it was 6.15pm before it arrived at the Stoneylands Stadium in New Road.

Club president Richard Kemp said they were told by a physiotherapist not to move Mr Attwood because the extent of his injuries was not known.

He added: “Tim confirmed that he thought he had dislocated his shoulder but he was in considerable pain.

“So after calling the ambulance, he was not moved and he remained on the pitch wrapped up for warmth.”

Mr Kemp said he found it “impossible to believe” that an ambulance was sent all the way from Ipswich and took more than an hour-and-a-half to get to the club.

“We have asked South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo to intervene because we all need an explanation as to how someone can be left in such a terrible state and in the freezing cold for such a long time,” he said.

Sudbury mayor Jack Owen, who was also at the match, added: “The ambulance service suggested that Tim should find his own way to hospital, which I find unbelievable.

“He was on the pitch covered in mud and everyone was rallying around trying to keep him warm and stable. To be left in such a predicament not knowing whether he should be moved or not was very worrying.”

Mr Yeo has said he will investigate the delay which he described as “unacceptable”.

“Long Melford is not the most remote place in the county so I share the concerns of the football club entirely,” he said.

“There has been some concern generally about ambulance response times and this is a prime example. I will certainly take this up with the ambulance trust on behalf of the people of Long Melford.”

East of England Ambulance Service spokesman Gary Sanderson confirmed that the ambulance had arrived at the scene at 6.16pm, about one hour and 30 minutes after the call.

He said: “During the call, our control room clinician advised the patient to make their own way to hospital as they had suffered no other injuries.

“The majority of calls the trust receives are not potentially life-threatening and, depending on what they are suffering, a response for the less seriously-ill person would range between 20 minutes to an hour – although of course when we dispatch an ambulance we try and get there as quickly as we can.”

He said patients were prioritised for most urgent clinical need, adding: “If Tim (Attwood) is unhappy with our response on Saturday and wishes to discuss this further, we’d welcome him to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service team on PALS@eastamb.nhs.uk.”

Mr Attwood was treated at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and was released the following day. Last night, he was not available to comment on the incident.

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