Woman died after 90-minute ambulance wait

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An elderly woman died after waiting nearly an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance when she fell over.

Phyllis Asten, 87, was letting out her dog in the garden of her bungalow in Spencer, Northampton, on Tuesday when she fell, her family said.

Her nine-year-old great-grandson Callum Wright was at her house and he raised the alarm with neighbours who called 999 shortly after 4.30pm.

An ambulance arrived just before 6pm and took Mrs Asten, who was conscious, to Northampton General Hospital.

A spokesman for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) said that as paramedics were waiting to give a clinical handover to Accident and Emergency staff, Mrs Asten went into cardiac arrest.

She was taken to the resuscitation area where doctors managed to revive her but she later died.

Michael Diggin, Mrs Asten’s son-in-law, arrived at her house not long after her accident and said she had broken her hip.

He told a local newspaper they were told not to move her but after around 40 minutes decided to bring her in by using a wheelchair because it was so cold.

He added: “At the end of the day, I think someone who is taken into hospital by ambulance should be assessed a bit quicker. My mother-in-law was very fit and did everything for herself. People do not normally die from broken hips.”

EMAS chief executive Phil Milligan said an ambulance was dispatched to Mrs Asten at 4.38pm – she had been categorised by medical staff as needing a 30-minute response – but it had to be diverted to a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Another ambulance was dispatched when one became free at 5.27pm, he said.

Northampton General Hospital is investigating the standard of care delivered to Mrs Asten.

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