AN elderly man who lost his prosthetic nose after falling flat on his face in a town centre was forced to wait up to ONE HOUR AND 40 MINUTES for an ambulance.
Despite receiving at least FOUR emergency calls, one of which lasted an hour, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) left the casualty untreated in High Street, Swadlincote.
The delay has outraged shop owners who rushed to help the victim, known as ‘Ivan’ and understood to be in his early 80s and from Swadlincote.
Claire Wyatt, joint owner of Weddings and Flowers Are Us, said: “It’s disgusting — absolutely horrendous.
“If he had got any other health issues I do not think he would be here now.
“I think we would have been doing some sort of floral tribute to him.” She said it would have been quicker to put the casualty in a car and take him to Swadlincote Health Centre, in Civic Way.
Jon-Paul Burnton, owner of the menswear store which bears his name, said: “It’s terrible.
“To say, for argument’s sake, he had had a heart attack, he would have been dead.
“If it had been David Cameron who had tripped over there would have been an ambulance here quicker than that.” The victim, who was carrying a small shopping bag, fell at 12.20pm on Friday as he walked towards The Delph to catch a taxi.
Mrs Wyatt said: “He tripped over his feet and did not get his hands down at all. He landed on his nose.” The impact dislodged the 6ft casualty’s false nose, understood to have been attached following a battle with cancer, and left him bleeding heavily.
Concerned businessmen brought him a chair and blanket, while one recovered his nose and put it in his pocket for safe keeping.
Although Mrs Wyatt made the first of at least three emergency calls at 12.25pm, by 12.45pm no ambulance had appeared.
It was then that Tory district and county councillor Pat Murray contacted the ambulance service again, remaining on the phone to them for an hour.
An ambulance eventually arrived from Nottingham at 2.10pm and took the casualty to hospital where he underwent surgery to re-attach his nose. He was discharged the following day.
EMAS chief executive Phil Milligan said: “I am sorry to hear about this distressing incident and for the time it took to get an ambulance on scene. We assessed the 999 call and the patient was reported to be breathing and conscious.
“We categorised the call as non-lifethreatening, requiring an ambulance response in 30 minutes.
“During Friday, our Derbyshire division responded to 356 emergency calls with more than 120 responses for people reported to be in an immediately lifethreatening condition.
“I am sorry that on this occasion it took us an hour and six minutes to get on scene, and for the anxiety and distress this delay will have caused.”