Husband speaks of anger after ambulance snub

An ambulance on call
An ambulance on call

A husband has spoken of his anger and shock after he was told by a 999 operator that his wife would not be sent an ambulance despite her being in crippling pain.

Philip Watson, 59, called for an ambulance for his wife Lynn after she started experiencing intense pain, shortly after getting out of hospital following bowel surgery. He had been advised to so so after ringing staff on the Scarborough Hospital ward on which his wife had been staying.

Despite this he was told that an ambulance would not be sent and that instead a nurse would ring him back in an hours time to see how his wife was doing.

He told the Scarborough News: “I reiterated that we had spoken to a nurse on the ward on which she was treated and that she had already said that my wife should be taken to hospital. The lady on the phone replied that the nurse was not authorised to dispatch an ambulance.

“She then said that if my wife got any worse, and she could not have done so without dying, or vomited, then I should ring back.

“I replied that my wife had already vomited. The lady said something like, ‘OK, well if she gets any worse ring back.’ She repeated that someone would call back within 60 minutes. I said, ‘Well get on with it then,’ and ended the call in disgust.”

Mr Watson instead drove his wife to Scarborough Hospital from their East Ayton home. When he got there he said staff were ‘astonished’ that she had been denied an ambulance and Mrs Watson ended up needing five days in hospital to overcome the pain and discomfort she was in.

He added:“The service we received from the emergency call line was abominable.” Vince Larvin, locality director for North and East Yorkshire at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Based on the information given by the caller, the patient’s condition was categorised as non-life threatening and we arranged for Mrs Watson to receive a call-back from a member of our clinical team in the Emergency Operations Centre. Our records indicate that a clinician attempted to contact Mrs Watson within 40 minutes of the 999 call. We’re sorry that Mr and Mrs Watson are unhappy with the service provided and wish Mrs Watson well in her recovery.”