A CATALOGUE of failures led to an injured woman lying in the road for hours in the bitter cold before an ambulance arrived, an investigation has revealed.

In December last year, a woman, aged 86, was knocked down by a car in Winchester but had to wait two hours in the road before she was taken to hospital.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) initially declined to comment on the outcome of their investigation into the incident in Upper Brook Street, except to issue an apology.

But a Freedom of Information Request by the Chronicle shows failures in a number of areas.
A report begun in December last year, and completed in January this year, blamed a “communication failure” within the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

It said other contributing factors were “resource pressures”, meaning ambulances were queuing throughout the county, including at RHCH, and that the workload on December 17 was 20 per cent above average.

The report also pointed to a lack of information from the scene on what it called the “’alleged’ seriousness”, including from the police.

But a spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary, who were quickly on the scene, said: “We believe officers acted totally appropriately and provided a very good service to this lady. We are not medical professionals, of course, but the assessment of injuries as minor was confirmed as correct by the hospital upon receipt of the patient. We supported her throughout the wait for the ambulance, and maintained liaison with SCAS.”

A statement from police added: “The elderly lady was awake and breathing well, and was assessed by local officers as having minor injuries. But they were still concerned for her as they considered her age made her vulnerable and stayed with her. The minor grade of the lady’s injuries was confirmed by medical staff at the hospital upon arrival.”

A February statement from SCAS said: “South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust would sincerely like to apologise for the delay.

“It is regrettable that on this occasion we did not dispatch to the high standards which we would normally expect, and we believe that this is not acceptable.

“We are using this opportunity to learn and educate staff as a result of this incident to ensure that we improve our services to our patients in the future.”

The ambulance service are expected to arrive on scene within 20 minutes on 95 per cent of such accidents and the FOI revealed that Hampshire’s present performance for this financial year currently stands at just under 91 per cent.

SCAS were asked to explain the “communication failure” at their control centre, but at the time of going to press no response had been received. It is also not known whether any staff were disciplined.