Felixstowe: Man in his 90s waited more than an hour for ambulance to transport him to Ipswich Hospital

The woman, in her 50s, collapsed at a property, believed to be her home address, in Bury St Edmunds

The woman, in her 50s, collapsed at a property, believed to be her home address, in Bury St Edmunds at around 11am today. - Credit: Archant

A man in his 90s bleeding heavily from a serious head wound waited more than an hour for an ambulance to take him to Ipswich Hospital.

A retired critical care nurse who rushed to his aid after he fell at The Regal in Sea Road, Felixstowe, has branded the response time a “disgrace”.

Sue Diaper claims she repeatedly called 999 to find out why paramedics were taking so long, only to be told a crew had been diverted to a more serious incident because her call had been recorded as a fall.

Ms Diaper, who recently retired from West Suffolk Hospital and continues to work in a care home, was having lunch with her mother when the elderly man tripped and banged his head.

“He was hemorrhaging from his head,” she said. “There was blood everywhere, we must have gone through 20 towels. He must have lost three-and-a-half litres of blood.”

The first 999 call was made shortly after 1pm. But Mrs Diaper said it was not until 52 minutes later that the first paramedic arrived at the scene, followed by an ambulance at about 2.30pm.

Mrs Diaper said: “It wasn’t the paramedic’s fault. It is the system. It is not good enough. I called 999 again and told them he wasn’t just a fall patient, he was bleeding very heavily but I felt they just weren’t listening to me.”

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The East of England Ambulance Service was recently forced to implement a turnaround plan after continually failing to meet their response time targets in Suffolk and Norfolk.

A spokesman for the trust apologised for the delay and said they received the 999 call at 1.14pm reporting the man had “fallen at The Regal”.

He said: “The call was coded as a Green 1 code, the target time for which is 20 minutes. The initial resource that was dispatched was diverted to a Red 2 coded call, a life-threatening call such as a cardiac arrest or a stroke.

“A second resource, a rapid response vehicle, was dispatched and arrived on scene 52 minutes after the call was made. We take delays such as this very seriously and apologise to those concerned.”

The trust launched its Turnaround Plan in April and its recent Single Integrated Plan sets out plans to reinvest £20million to put more ambulances on the road.

The spokesman said the trust is recruiting more paramedics, emergency care assistants (ECAs) and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).