Express & Star

Firefighters forced to rescue gran, 83, after seven-hour ambulance delay

A gran was left lying outside in the cold facing a seven-hour wait for an ambulance following a fall before finally being rescued — by firefighters.

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Firemen helping Steve Hulme's 83-year-old mother Betsy

Betsy Hulme, 83, was left in agony with a broken hip when she tumbled in her back garden in Leek, Staffordshire last Tuesday.

Son Steve, 60, a former ambulance technician, dialled 999 only to be told it would be several hours until paramedics could get to them due to long handover delays.

Steve Hulme's 83-year-old mother Betsy

After a further three hours of Betsy waiting on cold concrete slabs while soaked in rain water, desperate Steve decided to drive to a nearby fire station to ask for help.

Fire crews then came to rescue to lift gran-of-four Betsy into her son's car who took her to hospital where she remains after undergoing a hip repair operation.

Steve Hulme in his former uniform

Dad-of-two Steve, of Leek, has now branded emergency response times as “absolutely disgusting”.

He said: "It’s opened my eyes if I’m honest. It’s absolutely disgusting. I’m so grateful and thankful to the fire service - but it really isn’t their job.

“I can't remember in my time working as an ambulance technician going to someone and saying, 'I’m sorry it’s taken us twelve hours to get here'.

“It was never anywhere near those ridiculous times when I worked there until 2000 and something has gone drastically wrong since.

"I can't speak highly enough of the boys and girls who work in the NHS, it's the people above them. Its systemic change that's needed.

"It is happening more and more and people have died. Something needs to be done quickly if the ambulance service can’t cope.

"My mum has never had an ambulance called before and she could just not understand why it was taking so long and why she was being left to wait on wet concrete for hours on end."

Steve was called by his mum, a retired school dinner lady and carer who lives with husband George, 90, at around 2pm.