An 87-year-old man who had fallen outdoors was forced to wait for an ambulance until his family built a temporary shelter around him.
Great-grandfather David Wakeley suffered several broken bones, including a cracked pelvis, when he fell to the floor of his home in central Cornwall at 7.30pm on Monday.
His brother-in-law Trevor told BBC Radio Cornwall: “He was walking into the garage when he tripped and fell.”
His daughter Karen told the station she used a children’s soccer goal, umbrellas and a tarpaulin to keep him dry.
The couple called 999 at 7.30 p.m. on Monday — but an ambulance didn’t arrive at the home on St Columb Road, near Newquay, until 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
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They said they called four or five times during the night, and made sure paramedics would be with them “soon.”
The family said that the operators asked them not to move the injured man in case his injuries worsen, which is why they built the shelter.
It comes amid reports of long waits for treatment in Cornwall, with patients saying they waited outside the county’s only major hospital – the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) in Trillsk, Truro – for hours and even days.
The injured man, David, is now recovering at a reproductive health hospital. His family tweeted a picture of the temporary shelter.
“He was walking to the garage when he tripped and fell,” Trevor said. “It was 7.30pm on a Monday. We called 999 but the ambulance didn’t arrive for more than 15 hours.”
“We kept ringing and they were saying we’d be with you soon. My wife was a nervous wreck. They kept telling us not to move it, so we borrowed a soccer goal from next door and used a tarpaulin. It was shocking.”
A spokesperson for the Integrated Care System in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly said: “Like other parts of the country, our healthcare system continues to be under stress. The reasons for this are complex, including the high demand for primary and secondary care, mental health services and adult social care.”
“Our teams continue to work together to support people who need our care and we encourage people to use the most appropriate service — including their local pharmacy and minor injury units or 111 online — to keep emergency departments and 999 service available for people with urgent and life-threatening needs.”