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Northern Ireland pensioner waits three hours for ambulance after breaking hip

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The elderly woman suffered the injury at a shopping area in Craigavon (stock image)

The elderly woman suffered the injury at a shopping area in Craigavon (stock image)

The elderly woman suffered the injury at a shopping area in Craigavon (stock image)

A pensioner was forced to lie on "ice-cold" tiles for nearly three hours as she waited for an ambulance after breaking her hip in a fall.

The elderly woman suffered the injury at a shopping area in Craigavon.

Bystanders and staff from a nearby health centre in Legahory rushed to the 65-year-old's aid after the fall on Friday morning, resorting to using cardboard to help keep her warm.

SDLP councillor Thomas Larkham claimed the woman's case had been deemed "not a priority" by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).

"It's pretty horrific. This could have been anyone's mother or grandmother," he said. "She was lying on ice-cold tiles for over two-and-a-half hours for emergency services to arrive."

This newspaper contacted the NIAS for comment on Tuesday.

A response had not been received by the time of going to press.

Mr Larkham continued: "Medical centre staff came outside and assisted her. A lot of people were there trying to do all they could, but because of the nature of the break, they couldn't move her."

He explained that calls were made to NIAS after an ambulance failed to arrive after an almost 60-minute wait.

"(The emergency) was initially called through by a friend of hers who phoned the ambulance," Mr Larkham said.

"I, along with others, then arrived on the scene and around 45 to 50 minutes later phoned back to the ambulance service. The call handler said, 'Look, this is not deemed a priority. It's category C'.

"It was morning when she fell and it was the afternoon before the ambulance arrived."

The patient was later taken to Craigavon Area Hospital. According to the councillor, she is now "on the mend" after undergoing surgery.

On Tuesday the woman's neighbour branded the incident, which was first reported by the Armaghi website, a "total and utter disgrace".

The man, who did not wish to be identified, revealed his neighbour had broken a hip six months ago.

"What happened just proved to me how really, really bad the health service has become," he said.

The man claimed politicians needed to do more, adding: "Stormont is not doing enough."

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