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‘Sorry, we’re busy’ - Ambulance service slammed after no-show to assault ‘carnage’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

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THE ambulance service today came under fire after a member of the public was forced to take a victim of a vicious assault to hospital himself when paramedics failed to attend.

Alan Poole described the scene in Beech Street, Burton, as ‘carnage’ and said there was ‘blood everywhere’ after he came to the aid of two men who had been attacked.

Mr Poole, who knows the two victims, brothers Christopher and Liam Bowler, aged 24 and 20, said he was stood with police officers at the scene for an hour making repeated calls to the emergency services.

He was forced in the end to ferry blood-soaked Christopher Bowler (pictured), who was said to have lost consciousness following the attack, to Burton’s Queen’s Hospital himself, while Liam was taken in a police car.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service said due to an unprecedented demand of calls last Saturday night, when the attack took place, it was forced to prioritise calls which were judged to be the most serious.

It said the incident in Beech Street was one of half a dozen across the area it serves which had to be overlooked with victims instead taken to hospital in police cars.

It comes after the Mail reported last month how charity shop worker Paul Machin was forced to wait 42 minutes for an ambulance after suffering a serious injury after falling in Burton town centre.

Mr Poole, of Sycamore Road, Stapenhill, said: “When I got down there it was absolute carnage. I saw two people lying on the floor and there was blood everywhere. There were about six police officers there and they said the ambulance service said they hadn’t got any ambulances. I dialled 999, I tried everything.”

The brothers were said to have been assaulted by two men from Burton who were known to them after leaving a house party.

The men were subsequently arrested, but were each issued with a caution and will therefore not appear before the courts.

Mr Poole said: “They were telling me I can’t get an ambulance. I was getting quite annoyed at this point. I was at the scene for an hour and there was no ambulance.

“I don’t like to criticise people in the profession, they generally do a good job but I’m really annoyed. What if someone had died at the scene? I can’t get to grips with the fact the service didn’t do anything and it was left to a member of the public.”

A spokesman for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Unfortunately late Saturday evening we received an influx of 999 calls in the Staffordshire area. Between the hours of 8pm and 1am we received 50 per cent more calls than the previous Saturday evening. An extra 64 calls in that five-hour period puts extreme pressure on the 999 system.

“We try to get to all patients as quickly as possible, but unfortunately this is not always possible. As with all 999 calls, life threatening cases must take priority, and when we receive an influx of calls the less serious cases will take a little longer to get to than normal.”

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