East of England Ambulance Service apologises after motorcyclist in Cambs crash waits almost an hour for help
11:04 16 April 2014
A motorcyclist who sustained potentially life-changing injuries in a crash had to wait almost an hour for an ambulance.
David Pitkin, 44, who lives in Ramsey, was riding along Toll Bar Lane, Keyston, with friends on Sunday when he lost control and his bike left the road – and he and the machine went flying through the air into a field.
Mr Pitkin’s friend Simon Moore, of Hartford, rang the ambulance service at about 2.35pm, but initially got through to the East Midlands Ambulance Service as the accident happened about a mile from the county border.
The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) was alerted but it took 52 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
Paramedics requested help from Magpas which airlifted Mr Pitkin to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Because of the nature of the injuries, EEAS had 30 minutes to get to the biker, but said the ambulance it originally sent had to be diverted to a more urgent call.
Mr Moore, 38, told The Hunts Post: “David had broken his left humerus in his upper arm and it was stopping the blood from getting to his hand.
“They had to reset his arm in the field because it had taken so long for the ambulance to arrive.
“He was in danger of losing it if he had waited to get this treatment at Addenbrooke’s.
“I cannot fault the paramedics who came – they were fantastic – but it is very worrying that it took an hour for the ambulance to arrive. It’s obvious that there is flaw in the system.
“I know it was close to the county border but I tried to call the ambulance service five times trying to chase where it was and went through to East Midlands.”
He added: “He was in and out of consciousness and he was struggling to breath so I don’t see how this wasn’t a high priority.”
The EEAS spokesman said: “Firstly we would like to apologise to the patient for the delay in getting an ambulance to him. The initial ambulance that was sent had to be diverted to a more serious call, and the next available ambulance arrived 52 minutes after the initial 999 call.
“We are working hard to improve our response times and that is why we are actively recruiting 400 student paramedics across the region and increasing our fleet, so that we can get more ambulances on the road which will provide a better service to our patients.”
Last night (Tuesday) Mr Pitkin, who also suffered broken ribs and an air pocket in a lung, was expected to be discharged from hospital.