The Scottish Ambulance Service took over two hours to respond to emergency calls from police about a 70-year-old woman who had fallen in the street.
Mary-Ann Cook, who has previously had surgery on both her hips, tripped and fell over outside Ladbrokes in La Porte Precinct, Grangemouth, at 12.30pm today and was forced to lie in the cold street until well after 2pm, waiting in vain for ambulance personnel to come and treat her.
Mary-Ann’s daughter Tracie Thomson (41) was with her when she fell and waited with her until help arrived.
She said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. I’m absolutely livid she has had to lie there for over two hours in the cold. She tripped on the pavement and just went down. The way she was screaming I think she broke her hip.
“She has broken both her hips in the past so we didn’t want to move her. Two police officers were there and helped us – they called for an ambulance three or four times to try and get them out here while we were waiting.
“They said it was just the level of calls they were experiencing. It was the fire service who actually arrived first and treated her.”
Four Scottish Fire and Rescue personnel were able to move Mary-Ann, who by this time had a blanket to cover her, into the warmth of the nearby Strathcarron Hospice shop – staff moved stock to clear a space for her – while they waited for an ambulance, which had still not arrived.
Tracie said: “The police officers, people who passed by and staff from the two nearby shops all helped us a lot.”
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman confirmed firefighters responded to the incident at around 2pm to assist the ambulance service, who had received a call from Police Scotland.
The ambulance eventually arrived shortly afterwards and Mary-Ann, who comes from Grangemouth, was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital for treatment.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were experiencing an exceptionally high level of demand at this time and we would like to apologise to the patient for the delay.
“All 999 calls are prioritised to ensure the sickest and most seriously injured patients, including those with immediately life-threatening conditions, are given the highest priority.
“We would encourage the patient to contact our patient experience team to enable us to investigate the circumstances.”