Grandmother was strapped to a BIN LID and driven to A&E because there was no ... trends now

Grandmother was strapped to a BIN LID and driven to A&E because there was no ... trends now
Grandmother was strapped to a BIN LID and driven to A&E because there was no ... trends now

Grandmother was strapped to a BIN LID and driven to A&E because there was no ... trends now

A great-grandmother was taken to hospital on a bin lid after being told there were no ambulances available, her family have claimed as 999 crew delays hit their worst ever level.

Pamela Rolfe, 79, broke her hip after falling in a park while walking her dog in Johnstown, north Wales, last week. But when her family called 999, they were told she was not eligible for an ambulance.

Neighbours tore the lid from a grit bin, which was placed under the great-grandmother-of-two so she could be moved into a van and taken to hospital.

Ms Rolfe was given a bed eight hours after her fall and underwent surgery the following day. She is now recovering in hospital.

It comes as NHS data today revealed that nearly half of ambulances faced delays of at least half an hour outside of hospitals last week, as pressure continues to soar on emergency care.

Pamela Rolfe, 79, broke her hip after falling in a park while walking her dog in Johnstown, north Wales, last week. But when her family called 999, they were told she was not eligible for an ambulance

Pamela Rolfe, 79, broke her hip after falling in a park while walking her dog in Johnstown, north Wales, last week. But when her family called 999, they were told she was not eligible for an ambulance

NHS data showed that ambulances record delays when handing over patients to A&E departments in the week to January 1. More than a quarter (18,720) were forced to queue for more than 60 minutes before handing over their patients to A&E (shown in graph)

NHS data showed that ambulances record delays when handing over patients to A&E departments in the week to January 1. More than a quarter (18,720) were forced to queue for more than 60 minutes before handing over their patients to A&E (shown in graph)

Ambulances took an average of 48 minutes and eight seconds to respond to 372,326 category two calls (yellow line), such as heart attacks, strokes burns and epilepsy (red bars). This is nearly three times as long as the 18 minute target but around 13 minutes speedier than one month earlier

Ambulances took an average of 48 minutes and eight seconds to respond to372,326 category two calls, such as heart attacks, strokes burns and epilepsy (red bars). This is nearly three times as long as the 18 minute target but around 13 minutes speedier than one month earlier

Ms Rolfe fell around 11am on December 29. Passers-by put a duvet over her while she waited in the wet and windy weather. 

Her daughter Dawn Hamilton, 58, phoned 999 but was told she doesn't qualify for one 'due to the current crisis'.

Ms Hamilton, a self-employed carer, said that while 'one of the first rules is not to move someone', a passer-by said someone had recently died while waiting for an ambulance. 

In a bid to get her to hospital themselves, they considered using an ironing board to move Ms Rolfe.

But a neighbour instead ripped the lid from a grit bin.

It was put under Ms Rolfe to move her into a van — recently rented by Ms Hamilson's partner — so they could drive to Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

They arrived at hospital around 12:30pm, where a paramedic helped to shift Ms Rolfe onto a trolley.

Ms Rolfe was admitted to a ward at 7pm that evening — eight hours after the fall. She underwent hip surgery the following day and is still in hospital. 

Ms Hamilton said: 'Once we were in, the nurses were fantastic, so were the paramedics who helped get her on a trolley.

'There was a 93-year-old lady in the bed opposite, her son said she fell in her house and broke her hip. They gave up counting after 33 hours of waiting for an ambulance.'

Neighbours tore the lid from a grit bin, which was placed under the great-grandmother-of-two Rolfe so she could be moved into a van and taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital

Neighbours tore the lid from a grit bin, which was placed under the great-grandmother-of-two Rolfe so she could be moved into a van and taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital 

Ms Rolfe was given a bed eight hours after her fall and underwent surgery the following day. She is now recovering in hospital

Ms Rolfe was given a bed eight hours after her fall and underwent surgery the following day. She is now recovering in hospital 

She said: 'I couldn't believe A&E, there were queues outside the door.

'We were told someone was in an ambulance for 24 hours.

'If my mum had got in an ambulance she would have been stuck outside A&E, she could be dead.

'She's 80 this month, it was in a park, it was exposed, it was windy and starting to rain.

'If she had fallen inside there would have been pain management but she would have been warm.'

Ms Hamilton added: 'I keep saying to her "you don't realise how lucky you were".

'Just having the van, it was the luck of god that we had a van.

'The hospital staff were lovely but they are rushed off their feet.'

A mother in Hull (pictured) has told how she was forced to spend two nights sleeping on chairs in Hull Royal Infirmary's A&E while waiting for a bed after she was admitted with a suspected stomach ulcer

A mother in Hull (pictured) has told how she was forced to spend two nights sleeping on chairs in Hull Royal Infirmary's A&E while waiting for a bed after she was admitted with a suspected stomach ulcer

Steven Parsons (pictured), from Monmouth, was told there were no ambulances to take his grandfather, 83-year-old Bernard Saunders, to A&E and had to drive him there himself. But when they arrived, Mr Saunders had a cardiac arrest in the A&E carpark. He survived the incident, but remains in hospital receiving medical care

Steven Parsons (pictured), from Monmouth, was told there were no ambulances to take his grandfather, 83-year-old Bernard Saunders, to A&E and had to drive him there himself. But when they arrived, Mr Saunders had a cardiac arrest in the A&E carpark. He survived the incident, but remains in hospital receiving medical care

Pictured: Ambulances waiting at an Emergency Department at the Royal London hospital in east London on January 6

Pictured: Ambulances waiting at an Emergency Department at the Royal London hospital in east London on January 6

Pictured: Ambulances waiting at an Emergency Department at the Royal London hospital in east London on January 6

Pictured: Ambulances waiting at an Emergency Department at the Royal London hospital in east London on January 6

Some patients were forced to lie on the floor in the busy A&E due to a lack of beds

Some patients were forced to lie on the floor in the busy A&E due to a lack of beds

Paramedics have been forced to assemble makeshift wards in corridors of Aintree Hospital A&E due to a surge in demand

Paramedics have been forced to assemble makeshift wards in corridors of Aintree Hospital A&E due to a surge in demand 

Why IS the NHS struggling this winter?

Bed blockers

Some 12,000 hospital beds across the country — roughly one in seven — are currently filled with patients declared fit for discharge. 

The figure is triple the pre-pandemic average.

Experts say numbers are being driven by a crisis in social care, leaving patients left to languish on wards for up to nine months because there is no suitable nursing accommodation or care available for them in the community. 

The lack of beds has seen ambulances stuck in queues for 20 hours outside of hospitals this summer, as emergency medics scramble to find beds for patients. This has had a knock-on effect on response times. 

Workforce shortages

The NHS, which employs over a million people, has around 130,000 vacancies across its entire workforce in England.

This reduces productivity, with fewer staff to carry out appointments and procedures.

Health chiefs also warn that it stops staff from delivering high-quality care as they rush between patients, and can lead to safety concerns if too few staff are working.

In turn, medics are at a higher risk of burnout, illness and early retirement due to these factors. 

Surge in seasonal viruses 

Flu has surged in recent weeks, with over 4,000 beds per day being taken up by hospital admissions for the virus in the week to December 25. 

Sickness from seasonal winter bugs not only increases demands on the NHS but also damages its capacity.

This is due to staff falling ill with the bugs themselves which prevents them from working.

NHS staff sickness has surged recently with 63,000 staff missing work per day in the week running up to Christmas Day. 

Strep A fears

30 children in the UK have died in so far this winter due to an ongoing outbreak of Strep A.

The bacterial infection is harmless for the vast majority. But it can cause life-threatening illness if the bacteria invade the blood, muscles or lungs.

Doctors have warned that A&E, GPs and ambulances are in meltdown due to a surge in demand from parents worried that their child is infected.

Patients have faced longer emergency department waits, while some hospitals have postponed routine procedures to cope with demand.

Covid pressures

Around 7,700 beds per day were occupied by a patient infected with Covid in England in the week to December 18.

Two-thirds are primarily admitted for another ailment, such as a broken leg, but happen to test positive.

However, infected patients still pile pressure on the health service as they have to be isolated from others.

The virus also contributes to higher rates of staff sickness.  

GP appointment crisis

Campaign groups, MPs and senior medics say desperate patients are turning to emergency and walk-in services because they can't get a

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