Belfast Telegraph

Ambulance service apologises after girl (12) injured in fall waits two hours

The ambulance service has apologised for the wait. (Niall Carson/PA)
The ambulance service has apologised for the wait. (Niall Carson/PA)

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has apologised after a 12-year-old girl who injured her back in a fall had to wait more than two hours for paramedics to arrive.

Erin Hughes fell of her bike while cycling in Groomsport, Co Down, on Friday evening and landed on her back.

Her mother, Emma, called the ambulance service at 5.39pm and was told not to move Erin while paramedics made their way to the scene.

After waiting for more than an hour, Mrs Hughes phoned the ambulance service again and asked if they could take her to the hospital themselves. She was told "absolutely no way" and to wait for the ambulance, reports the BBC.

An ambulance eventually arrived at 8.44pm, however Mrs Hughes said the wait was "outrageous".

"We thought maybe she'd broken her collar bone and she had this really sharp lower back pain," she told the BBC.

"She must have been travelling about 15mph down this hill. It's just frustrating when you can't help your child."

In a statement, a Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesperson said the incident was prioritised as Category B, meaning it was serious but not immediately life-threatening, and they aim to respond to Category B incidents within 21 minutes.

"We acknowledge that we fell well short in this instance," the spokesman said.

"We do not accept that the wait experienced by the young girl and her family is any way acceptable and we would offer our sincere apologies to both.

"We understand the discomfort, pain and distress that would have been experienced by this young patient and also the anxiety and worry that would have been felt by her parents as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

"We are truly sorry for this and would be willing to meet with the parents to discuss the situation with them."

Mrs Hughes said that, while Erin was not seriously injured, she was "traumatised" by the experience.

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