Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Injured teenager refused ambulance

A TEENAGER with a fractured shoulder was forced to wait in vain for an ambulance because

A TEENAGER with a fractured shoulder was forced to wait in vain for an ambulance because his injury was deemed not serious enough.

It is the second incident of this type to happen in Henley in a matter of weeks.

Now the man who took the 13-year-old to hospital says the NHS has become like a do-it-yourself service.

The boy was playing football with three friends in Mill Meadows on Saturday when he fell awkwardly and suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Hugo Warner, one of the other boys, called his father Michael, who raced to the scene from their home in Queen Street.

Mr Warner, a 51-year-old company director, said he arrived to find the injured boy in “absolute agony” and unable to move, so he dialled 999.

He then waited with the boy for an ambulance to arrive but when nothing had happened after 45 minutes he rang again.

Mr Warner said: “Much to my horror, I was told that actually no ambulance had been dispatched due to higher priorities.

“I was told further that because the boy was not ‘gasping for breath’ he was not of sufficient priority.”

Concerned that the boy would pass out, he took him carefully to his car and drove him to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where X-rays revealed he had actually fractured his shoulder. He is now recovering at home.

Mr Warner, who is head coach at Henley Junior Triathlon Club, said: “There obviously were more serious priorities — it’s not their fault - but what the hell are you supposed to do?

“Calling 111 is hopeless and 999 is overstretched. It has become the DIY NHS. You have to decide what to do yourself because there’s no one to help you.”

In August, Mackenzie Cusk, nine, and his mother Kate Oldridge waited for 45 minutes for an ambulance after he injured his left arm when he fell off his scooter in Mill Meadows.

In the end Ms Oldridge and the boy’s father Patrick Cusk took him to the Royal Berks, where he had to have surgery.

South Central Ambulance Service later apologised, saying that demand had outstripped its resources at the time of the 999 call.

A spokesman for the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Warner’s 999 call was received at 4.20pm on Saturday.

He said: “The initial triage indicated a green 30 response — ambulance response within 30 minutes.

“Further clinical questioning was undertaken by a clinician in the trust’s emergency operations centre during a call that commenced at 4.41pm.

“As a result of this, the outcome was that the patient could make their own way to an emergency department and as a result no ambulance attended.”

He said the service encouraged patients to “self-care” where “clinically appropriate” and to only dial 999 only when a patient had “life-threatening or serious injuries and illnesses”.

“Appropriate use of 999 for emergencies will help ensure that our ambulances and paramedics are available as much as possible to reach the people who really need us,” said the spokesman.

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