By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 18 January 2013 Updated: 21/01 12:26
AN ELDERLY woman was left lying on the icy ground for an hour because of a lack of ambulances.
Onlookers who saw the woman slip over in Church Hill Centre called 999 about 9.30am on Tuesday (January 15). But due to high demand at the time a community first responder, a volunteer with specialist training, did not reach the scene until 10.10am and an ambulance from
Bromsgrove did not get there until almost 10.30am. The woman was taken to the Alexandra Hospital and treated for a head injury.
Ryan Carmichael witnessed the accident and also flagged down a passing police car to help.
He said the woman was unable to speak because of the shock of hitting her head.
"I think it's disgusting she was left on that freezing cold floor for that long," he said.
"I know there have been a lot of cutbacks, but the ambulance should have been there sooner and the pathways should be properly gritted."
Zoe Gardner, from Cutting Edge hairdressers in the centre, said the area where the woman had fallen had not been gritted.
"I just think it's wrong. Accidents are happening and it's going to get worse, it's just a joke."
She added money used to employ two people to treat the centre with just one gritter could be better used by supplying a bin so businesses and residents could grit the area themselves.
A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said they had received 22 calls requiring ambulances in Worcestershire between 8.30am and 10am that morning, more than the number of vehicles available.
Extra resources had been brought in from neighbouring counties and a rapid response vehicle had been immediately sent to the scene, but was diverted to a life-threatening call where a woman was in labour.
An ambulance was then sent to the scene but was also rerouted to another emergency, this time involving a man having a seizure.
"Staff in the control room were constantly reviewing this case and attempting to get the first available ambulance to the woman but the Trust will always prioritise life-threatening calls first. We regret that, because of the soaring number of 999 calls that morning, this took longer than we would have liked.
"No official complaint from the patient has been received but the Trust would welcome the opportunity to talk through any issues the patient or her family might have."
A spokeswoman for Redditch Borough Council said they were unable to grit all parts of the district centres as they had limited equipment and had to prioritise other areas.
"Teams work together with one team member using the equipment and the other gritting by hand."
She added people should still take care using paths in icy conditions even if they have been gritted.
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