SHOPPERS have expressed concern after an injured elderly lady was left lying in the street for two hours waiting for an ambulance.
Ian Coult, of Morton Street, South Shields, said he was disgusted that it took paramedics almost two hours to arrive at the scene of the accident in Ocean Road, South Shields.
Mr Coult, 47, passed the lady, who complained of a hip injury and chest pains, lying on the pavement, just outside Ladbrokes’ betting shop, opposite the Ship and Royal pub, yesterday morning.
He said passersby said that they had called emergency services at 11.50am, and were waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
He passed the scene again after an hour, and was told paramedics had still not attended the scene.
Mr Coult said: “I’m looking at that woman and thinking that could be my mother.
“I rang 999 again, and asked why is there no one here?
“Then I spent nearly half an hour on the phone while they asked me questions.
“I said it’s all well and good asking me questions, but she is still lying here.
“Eventually an ambulance turned up at 1.43pm.”
He said: “Waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance, when you have called 999, in 2014, is not acceptable.
“That lady was let down terribly, to the point that there was someone standing in the doorway of the Ship and Royal shouting abuse at the paramedics when they turned up.”
Mr Coult said he has experienced a similar situation in the past, when his father had to wait almost two hours for an ambulance to arrive.
He also said that despite emergency services being called out to other incidents, including the tragedy at Marsden Cliffs yesterday, paramedics should have been able to attend the incident more quickly.
He said: “I know things were happening in other places in Shields yesterday, but there should have been another ambulance able to get there from somewhere else.
“This is not a criticism of the people who turned up – the paramedics did their job when they got there, and they were pretty quick in taking her away.
“If this isn’t highlighted, it will happen again.”
A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “We received a call at 11.50am about an elderly lady who has fallen in the Ocean Road area of South Shields. The incident was classed as a G2 non-life-threatening call.
“We are very sorry for the patient’s waiting time of 1hour 50mins. We did everything we could to attend, and attempted to dispatch an ambulance on four separate occasions, but three of those were diverted to more serious life-threatening calls.
“One of our clinicians called the lady to reassess her condition, and the G2 status was upheld.
“There has been a high demand for our service with cardiac and respiratory incidents always taking priority. She was later taken to South Tyneside District Hospital.”