Ambulance called at 2pm…arrives at 4AM: Diabetic pensioner, 92, is forced to wait nearly 14 HOURS for paramedics to arrive as hospital bosses say NHS is ‘on its knees’ even WITHOUT a Covid surge

  • Cyril Pepper, 92, lay for 14 hours after a fall at home in Silverdale, Staffordshire 
  • An ambulance was called at 2pm but did not arrive until 4am the next morning
  • Widowed Mr Pepper is diabetic and also suffered from a stroke six year ago 
  • Mr Pepper’s friend Debbie Ausin found him and stayed throughout his ordeal

A 92-year-old diabetic spent nearly 14 hours lying on the floor covered in blood while waiting for an ambulance.

Cyril Pepper was left with severe back pain, damage to his arm and also banged his head during a fall at his home on Monday, November 8.

Mr Pepper, of Silverdale, Staffordshire, who also suffered a stroke six years ago, managed to alert friends after by pressing a care alarm button at his home.

He said: ‘I was lying on my back in so much pain. It was horrendous.’  

Mr Pepper’s friend and carer Debbie Ausin, 59, arrived at his home at around 3pm after she received a message from Carecall – a personal care service.

She found the pensioner lying against a radiator on the floor near his kitchen, with blood marks from where he had tried to catch his fall. 

The incident comes as new figures reveal the NHS is being brought ‘to its knees’ even without a major Covid surge – as a swathe of official data lays bare how A&Es, ambulance crews and hospitals are already struggling to cope before the pressures of winter truly kick in.

Mr Pepper being propped up by cushions at 2.30 am, 12 hours after the first ambulance call

Mr Pepper celebrating a Christmas. The 92-year-old diabetic spent nearly 14 hours waiting for an ambulance after falling in his kitchen.

After Mr Pepper raised the alarm, an ambulance was called at 2pm but it didn’t arrive until 4am the following morning, while Ms Ausin stayed with Mr Pepper for the rest of his 14-hour ordeal.

According to Ms Ausin, a self-employed cleaner, he was unable to eat and she had to help him go to the toilet three times while he lay on the floor.

She removed his false teeth to stop him from choking, but was unable to give him painkillers because Mr Pepper had trouble swallowing following a stroke.

Ms Ausin said: ‘He was very upset, I noticed he had a bruise on the back off his head which had started to bulge.

‘I think he was in shock about what had happened.

‘I was contact with the Carecall throughout, and stayed with Cyril to monitor his breathing.

‘With his diabetes too, and the damage to the skin he had from his fall, I was concerned. He also had two toes that were infected at the time.

‘The district nurse turned up at 4pm – she was shocked to see what happened. She looked after his damaged arm. She broke down crying.’

‘Eventually, an ambulance arrived at 4am in the following morning after Mr Pepper had gone a full 14 hours without anything to eat and would only take sips of water.

Ms Ausin added: ‘It shows the resources are really stretched.’

‘When paramedics arrived, they said they had been really busy and had to prioritise other patients with breathing difficulties.

‘I chose to look after him because we have become close friends over the years, he has a step grandson who was in Tenerife at the time. His wife died about 30 years ago. Apart from that, he has no other family around.’

Paramedics apologised to Mr Pepper and Ms Ausin after explaining they had a lot of call-outs that day

Mr Pepper’s experience is not an isolated incident, as GPs warn patients are waiting for increasing lengths of time in their practices to be transported to hospital.

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned things will ‘get worse rather than bette’ after NHS data showed patients were left waiting for hours at a time for an ambulance.

Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA’s general practitioners committee, said people have been left in GP waiting rooms for paramedics, forcing staff to carry out treatment and increasing waiting times for other patients.

He said: ‘It leads the practices to manage said patients without the necessary equipment and expertise to do so.

‘Some patients choose to go to their GP practice rather than call 999 and when the GP realises the situation, they take action and need ambulance staff to get there. Every second counts.

‘There have been examples where practices have been giving oxygen to people while they wait for paramedics and have run out and have had to find further sources of oxygen.’

The NHS waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has reached 5.83million, official data revealed today marking the eleventh month in a row that the figure has hit a record high. Some 1.6million more Britons were waiting for elective surgery — such as hip and keen operations — at the end of September compared to the start of the pandemic

A record number of 999 calls were made in England in October with 1,012,143 urgent calls for medical help made. But the time it took answer these calls also increased to a record 56 seconds

The NHS has long struggled to meet its recommended ambulance response times for Category 2 incidents which include medical emergencies such as strokes and severe burns but the last few months months have seen unprecedented rise with patients waiting nearly an hour on average for an ambulance after calling 99.  

Elsewhere, doctors have reported patients are dying in the back of ambulances and in corridors because emergency units are so busy.

On Thursday, NHS England data revealed a record of 5.83million patients are now on the NHS waiting list for routine treatment – with the toll having snowballed during the pandemic.    

At the same time, the average ambulance response time for heart attack and stroke patients is now nearly an hour, which paramedics admitted is putting patients’ lives ‘at risk’. 999 response times for category two calls are now three times above the health service’s 18-minute safety target.

Doctors warned the grim performance figures were ‘concerning’ because winter pressures and staffing absences have yet to hit peak levels.

A poll of NHS bosses found nine in 10 felt the current situation — dealing with the pandemic-induced backlog and Covid — is ‘unsustainable’ and patient care is being compromised. 

Deborah Ward, senior analyst at the health think tank King’s Fund said: ‘Today’s stats reveal the worst performance since current records began for ambulance calls, A&Es and waits for planned hospital care.’

Mr Pepper celebrating his 90th birthday two years ago at his home in Silverdale, Staffordshire

At the end of Mr Pepper’s 14-hour wait, both he and Ms Ausin received apologies from paramedics after ‘having so many call-outs.’ 

Mr Pepper refused to go to hospital because he feared he would not return home again.

He said: ‘[Ms Ausin] is such a close friend to me and I will always be grateful for what she has done for me.

‘I was annoyed that I had to wait 14 hours for an ambulance, I have worked all my life as building clerk and for the electricity board.’ 

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the trust would like to offer its apologies to him ‘for the delay in responding’.

A spokesperson for the service stated paramedics in its control room ‘spoke to the caller with the patient on several occasions to check whether his condition had changed.

‘Unfortunately, high levels of demand from people with life-threatening conditions sometimes mean we are not able to respond to incidents as quickly as our patients would want.

The spokesperson added: ‘We are working closely with all local health services and NHS England to reduce delays and we continue to bolster frontline and control room staffing as part of a range of measures to help manage the current high levels of demand.’

Doctors say patients are ‘dying in ambulances’ because of A&E overcrowding 

Medics at three Welsh hospitals have said patients are dying in ambulances while waiting for treatment due to shocking overcrowding in emergency departments.  

The doctors referenced an incident over the summer where a patient died after died in an ambulance after waiting two hours for treatment outside a hospital.

According to WalesOnline the doctors made their claims two letters sent to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which manages the Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor hospitals.

One letter was sent in December 2020 and the other in June this year.

They wrote that while Covid exacerbated the hospitals’ overcrowding problems the issue predates the pandemic. 

Responding to the mergence of the letters, which were revealed by an freedom of Information request, the Board  said they understood the pressure staff were under and it was working to improve staff numbers and improve patient flow in emergency departments. 

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