Deaf and blind Joyce, 95, in 11 hour 999 wait after falling at her bungalow in Soham

PUBLISHED: 16:42 30 January 2018

Joyce Saunders at the grave of her father in Radlett, Hertfordshire.

Joyce Saunders at the grave of her father in Radlett, Hertfordshire.

Archant

A Soham woman in her 90s, who is both deaf and blind, waited 11 hours for an ambulance after falling over at her home.

Letter from East Anglian Ambulance Service Trust EEAST about Joyce SaundersLetter from East Anglian Ambulance Service Trust EEAST about Joyce Saunders

Joyce Saunders, 95, is so traumatised by the incident she has decided to move to a care home.

Her nephew Richard Pledger called for an inquiry after driving three and a half hours to see his aunt – only to find he arrived more than seven hours before an ambulance.

He first told his story to ‘Mann in the Morning’ on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire during a segment hosted by broadcaster Chris Mann on the health service crisis over ambulance waiting times.

Mr Pledger said: “Joyce has given up and is going into a care home. Lying on the floor for so long was the turning point for her declining health and losing her confidence in being home alone.

Letter from East Anglian Ambulance Service Trust EEAST about Joyce SaundersLetter from East Anglian Ambulance Service Trust EEAST about Joyce Saunders

“It’s a shame that everybody is kicking the ambulance service right now because it’s a funding issue, not the fault of front-line staff.”

Joyce fell at her bungalow in The Crescent, Soham, at about 5.20pm but paramedics did not arrive until 4am.

The ambulance service later told the family that a fall is not considered a life threatening emergency and there had been an unprecedented 3,600 calls on that day.

Joyce, who was a nurse before joining Ashford’s in Newmarket after the war, is in Addenbrooke’s Hospital iawaiting discharge. She will be going to a nursing home shortly to be near her family.

Mr Pledger said: “She is upset at having to leave her own home.”

A spokesman for EEAST said: “We’d like to apologise to the patient and their family for any distress caused. We try as hard as possible to get to people as quickly possible. Because of the unprecedented demand, we prioritised the sickest patients.

Mr Pledger says the incident has prompted MP Steve Barclay to call for a risk summit.

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