Newtownabbey pensioner taken to hospital by car after no ambulance available

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) has confirmed that due to ongoing pressure on the service an elderly man had to transferred to hospital by car after a fall in Newtownabbey last week.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 3:13 pm

NIAS also issued an apology in relation to the incident in the Rush Park area on Friday.

An Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “NIAS received a 999 call for an elderly gentlemen who had fallen in the Woodland Drive area at 12.58pm on July 16.

Newtownabbey is within the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) Northern Division Area, and crews work across the division to respond to calls. On July 16 the Northern Division had 16 out of a planned 17 A and E crews on duty, one Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV), and cover was supplemented by two A and E support crews.

Woodland Drive. (Pic Google).

“As with the wider HSC system across the region, NIAS continue to face significant pressures due to peaks in demand with increased call volume placing the service under significant pressure with the volume of requests exceeding the resources available to respond at times. Whilst we endeavour to reach patients within the time scale indicated by their presenting condition this is not always possible.

“NIAS understands that this gentleman made his own way to hospital, and would wish to offer sincere apologies to both him and his family that we were unable to respond to this call before he travelled to hospital, and for any distress caused.”

Former Antrim and Newtownabbey TUV councillor David Hollis has expressed concern about the incident.

Mr Hollis said: “The man (93) was walking in the estate when his walking frame toppled. He was left lying on the road and cars had to drive round him. Residents made calls to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, but after a wait of around two hours, he was taken to hospital by a car.

“A teenage girl, who has training from St John Ambulance, administered some first aid while he was lying on the road and advised members of the public not to move the gentleman in case it caused further injury to him. The girl asked for ice and drinks for the man, as well as a blanket to make a pillow for him and try and make him as comfortable as possible. The man’s family wish to thank the girl for her kind actions.

“He was still in hospital yesterday (Wednesday). He has sustained a number of injuries including a broken nose, cuts on his face and he had to get stitches to a hand wound.

“I’d like to thank residents who helped the man during his ordeal. I understand there are pressures on the NIAS and they are working as best they can with the resources they have. It’s disappointing he had to lie on the road like this with no ambulance coming. I wish the man well and I know many people in Rush Park will have him in their thoughts.”

The NIAS spokesperson went on to outline factors contributing to pressures on the service.

“Recent delays in response times can be multi-factorial, including Covid-related issues impacting on staff availability, extreme surges in demand, extended hospital turnaround for crews at emergency departments which have the potential to impact on NIAS response times.

“During such periods, depending on the patient’s condition ,callers to NIAS are advised that NIAS will endeavour to send an ambulance as soon as one becomes available, however the patient may experience a significant delay as ambulances are being prioritised for immediately life-threatening calls. In some cases patients may make your own way to hospital or find alternative transport.”


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