Bo'ness woman (68) spent 15 hours alone in agony waiting for ambulance

A woman who fractured her ribs after a fall downstairs called 111 for help at tea-time and finally got an ambulance arriving at her house at breakfast time the next day.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:29 pm

Christine Morison (68) was unable to move after the fall at her home earlier this year and, over a month later, is still recovering from her fractured ribs and trying to come to terms with the length of time she was forced to wait in agony.

Scottish Ambulance Service apologised to Christine and stated there were “extreme pressures on the service” at the time.

She said: “I called 111 and had to wait an hour to get through to them. They said they were arranging an ambulance for me within the hour. When no one came I called

Where were they? That's what Christine Morison wants to know after waiting 15 hours for an ambulance to appear

the ambulance service myself at 11pm and they said they were busy and would send an ambulance out as soon as possible.

"I couldn’t actually move at this point and I was getting cold – I couldn’t go upstairs to get a blanket. The ambulance still didn’t arrive so I managed to sit upright in a chair.

"I kept waiting and waiting, but the ambulance never came. I phoned again and told them I was getting really cold and they said they would get the next available ambulance to come to me.

"It was 5am and I wasn’t able to sleep or even lie down. I called 111 again and they told me it was out of their hands because it had been passed onto the ambulance service.”

At her wit’s end and in excruciating pain, Christine decided to cancel the ambulance and try and phone a friend to take her to the hospital instead.

However, after cancelling the ambulance her friend convinced her to call back and try again.

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"It was now 9.30am and the ambulance finally arrived,” she said. “They could tell my ribs were fractured and they told me they could take me to the hospital, but that would have me waiting even longer to get painkillers I would need.”

In the end Christine never went to hospital, she got the painkillers through her own GP.

She said: “This was totally unacceptable. I’m 68 but I’m quite resilient – what if this had happened to someone who wasn’t? I wrote to the ambulance service and complained, but they just fobbed me off.

"The entire experience was a torturous nightmare, which no one should endure in this day and age.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a request from NHS 24 for a one-hour non-emergency ambulance at 9.10pm on June 22 to transport Ms Morrison to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

"Unfortunately, due to extreme pressures on the service at that time, there were no available ambulances. We made welfare calls throughout the wait, to check Ms Morrison’s condition hadn’t changed.

"We’d like to apologise for the delay in reaching Ms Morrison and we have provided a response to her privately to explain the situation. An additional 540 frontline A&E staff have been recruited over the last financial year, with the aim of providing additional capacity to meet demand.

"We are also working closely Health Boards, including Forth Valley, to help reduce hospital turnaround times, which impacts on our ability to reach patients.”