Don’t fall off your bike in Letchworth

Not if you want might need the assistance of East of England Ambulance Services anyway

I had a rather worrying experience last night that damaged my perception of our emergency services: at least the Ambulance Service in the East of England anyway.

On my way home from Scouts last night, I was dropping my son Nick off when we came across a late middle-aged lady sprawled in the gutter. There was another lady and a young man, plus two large dogs. Oh, and a bike.

What appeared to have happened was that she was riding her bike and walking her dogs at the same time. Never a good idea I would have thought, but that’s not the point.

She had fallen and banged her head, which was bleeding from a small cut. She was dizzy, nauseous and had a suspected broken finger. The other lady had just come across her, as had the young man.

We checked she was OK (she was conscious) and then, after covering her with a blanket, decided to let her recover for a few minutes to see what developed. Then she was sick, so I called 999 and asked for an ambulance as she was showing signs of concussion.

After having to repeat everything twice, I was told that somebody would attend. This was just before 11PM. By 11:15, she was getting very cold and was still woozy, but was fully aware of what was going on. She indicated she felt dizzy but we were able to move her to the pavement. During this, I missed a call back from the Ambulance Service.

I called back on 999 and, after having to repeat all the information again, twice, was told that they were very busy and that, in fact, nobody was coming out to take a look. No advice was given about an alternative course of action and I received the impression that we were on our own from that point on.

After discussing the matter, we helped the lady into the other lady’s car and she drove her home. She agreed to call her doctor the following day if she still felt bad.

Now I know that our emergency services are stretched, and I assume this was a result of their triage process. However, I do question whether whoever decided not to send somebody out actually had enough information to which to base that decision.

Later, as I was nearing home, I was called by Hertfordshire Police to find out what had happened. At least they show some sense of care.