An investigation has been launched after Malorie Bantala lay in the road waiting for an ambulance for over an hour before the police were forced to take her to hospital in the back of a squad car.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS)?apologised after it was revealed that one of the victim’s neighbours dialled 999 at 8.16pm, but when an ambulance had still not arrived 70 minutes later, the police were forced to cancel the call.
Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, has written to the Chief Executive of London Ambulance Service to demand a ‘thorough’ investigation be undertaken immediately.
It appears the initial emergency call was assessed to be ‘low priority’, which put Malorie in a queue behind other cases, thought to be more urgent.
But ambulance response times in Southwark have been well below target for the last six months.
Any calls logged as ‘category A’ – where an urgent response is needed – are supposed to have an ambulance on scene within eight minutes at least 75 percent of the time.
Since November last year, ambulances responding to emergencies in Southwark have hit the eight minute target between 54 percent and 71 percent of the time.
In some instances, it is claimed that patients have waited hours for an ambulance, like 84-year old Joan Bird, who fell outside her home in in Owgan Close, Camberwell, in February and says she had to wait two and a quarter hours before paramedics arrived.
Concerned neighbours, like Carol Hunter, brought quilts and blankets to keep her warm while they waited. “The crew were so apologetic when they got there,” said Carol. “They were disgusted themselves. They said they’d been on their way to us three times but they kept getting called away.”
Joan, who is now wheelchair-bound, had broken her pelvis in three places, so Carol could not move her from where she lay. “She was in agony and nobody could move her. It was awful,” she said.
The Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which pays for the delivery of health services in the borough, said it would be monitoring the investigation into the Malorie Bantala call out and “ensure any necessary actions are taken to reduce the chance of a similar incident occurring,” according to a spokesperson.
“We are investing new money into London Ambulance Service to support recruitment of more paramedics and to improve the national response standards.”
The LAS?did not provide a comment before the News went to press.