Suffolk man, 85, with broken hip waited for 13 hours on cold floor for ambulance

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust ambulance. Picture: SIMON PARKER/ARCHANT

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust ambulance. Picture: SIMON PARKER/ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

An 85-year-old man with a broken hip feared for his life as he lay on his freezing conservatory floor with hot water bottles strapped to his legs during a 13-hour wait for an ambulance.

Roy Brittain, a retired lecturer, asked himself: ‘Am I going to get through this?’ as time ticked by during a icy cold snap, we can today reveal.

His ordeal is the latest in a string of horror stories as pressure mounts on the government to tackle the crisis in the NHS – and at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust specifically.

It is estimated that by the time investigations finish as many as 80 cases could be recorded.

Among those incidents is that of Mr Brittain, who fell while in his workshop at home in Fox Hill, St Cross South Elmham, Harleston.


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After dragging himself into the conservatory so his wife Joyce, who was in the shower, could hear his cries for help they called 999 and were told the wait would be six hours.

But instead, Mr Brittain lay on the floor for 13 hours as he was told by operators not to move in case he did further damage.

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Mr Brittain said: “We called some friends who had some duvets. My legs were really cold, we had hot water bottles strapped to them and a mini heater. But it was a long, long wait.”

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesman said: “We’d like to apologise to the patient and their family for any distress caused. We tried as hard as possible to get to people as quickly possible.

“Because of the unprecedented demand over the winter period, we prioritised the sickest patients.”

They said they received a call at 3.05pm on December 13, and an ambulance arrived at 4am the next morning.

The spokesman added: “While the patient and family is understandably upset, on this day we received 4,000 calls. Our highest call numbers over this period was 4,800.

“We’d urge the patient to get in touch with the trust directly.”

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