Health chiefs have said sorry after a Fleetwood mum was left waiting hours for help when she fell and broke her back.
Marion Nash, 61, was left lying on the ground in agony for more than two hours before an ambulance arrived after falling from the top rung of a ladder at her Quayside home.
Her daughters say she then had to wait five-and-a-half hours in a wheelchair in A&E to see a doctor – only to be told she had fractured a bone in her spine and she should not have been left sitting upright.
Severe pressure on both the ambulance service and the hospital were blamed, while Marion praised staff’s efforts in the face of such high demand.
Marion told The Gazette she called her daughters Vicky, 30, and Mandy, 37, after she fell while carrying out repairs in the back garden last Monday.
She said: “They got some cushions and covered me up with blankets but it was raining. I was freezing and shaking uncontrollably with the shock.”
Vicky added: “She was in so much pain. We called the ambulance expecting a 10 or 15-minute wait.
“It was horrendous. It was the worst two hours of our lives. Mum was crying and panicking.”
Despite calling the ambulance at around 2.50pm, it did not arrive until around 5.30pm and her daughters say she did not see a doctor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital until just after midnight – more than nine hours after the accident.
She was given paracetamol and wheeled into a waiting room before an X-ray revealed she had broken her lower back, and should not have been allowed to sit upright, they said.
Both ambulance and hospital bosses blamed high demand for services and apologised for the delays. Marion and her daughters said they sympathised with overworked staff.
Mandy, who accompanied Marion to the hospital, said: “We can’t say it’s the doctors’ fault or the nurses’ fault. You could hear them saying, ‘I haven’t had a break in 10 hours’.
“Everybody who dealt with my mum was great on a personal level. They just didn’t seem equipped to deal with the high volume of people coming in.”
Marion, who has not been able to walk since the fall, remains in hospital while doctors determine the full extent of her injury.
She said: “The staff are wonderful. They can’t do enough for all the patients that are in here.
“I’m unhappy I was left so long but it’s not their fault. There’s not enough ambulances. It’s just a sorry situation.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Victoria Hospital said: “We are unable to discuss individual patients, but are happy to talk through any concerns patients may have via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
“We are sorry for any extended waiting times, as with all emergency departments nationally, we are experiencing pressures on our service and our primary concern is always the safety of our patients.”
A North West Ambulance spokesman said the 999 call was originally categorised as ‘urgent’ – with a two-hour target response time – based on the information given over the phone.
They added: “The call was upgraded by a manager to a category two at 4.13pm, requiring an emergency response. An ambulance was allocated 26 minutes later and arrived after 45 minutes.
“Unfortunately due to extremely high demand we are not always able to get there as quickly as we would like, which we apologise for.
“Monday was a particularly busy day for us, dealing with 1,104 emergency 999 calls in Lancashire alone.”