Gran, 87, left lying in agony on ground in rain in 9-HOUR wait for ambulance

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For nine hours to 10 pm, a great-grain was lying on the ground in torrential rain, waiting for an ambulance.

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Rita Tonks, 87, was in unbearable pain when she collapsed on her driveway while trying to get to her garage.

87-year-old Rita Tonks in agony for nine hours as she waited for an ambulancecredit: SWNS
Paramedics forbid Rita to move despite being outside in heavy rain

Paramedics forbid Rita to move despite being outside in heavy raincredit: SWNS

Neighbors heard Rita shouting for help and ran with patio heaters, umbrellas and dupattas to keep the retired council worker warm as her son dialed 999 at 1.15 pm.


Paramedics finally arrived at the property at 10 p.m. and Rita was taken to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, where she underwent a partial hip replacement.

Shocking footage showed Rita stomping on a cold and wet road in torrential rain and waiting for an ambulance to arrive last Monday.

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His son Steve Tonks, 63, has demystified the “unacceptable” delay.

He said: “She waited on the cold and wet driveway – it was raining. The ambulance service had advised her not to move.

“We called back once and were told they were busy and they knew about my mother, the second time we called they even asked us not to call again.

“When it started getting dark we called for the third time and were told that the next ambulance would be on the way.

“But there was still an hour left for him to come.”

He continued: “We are very disappointed and clearly angry at what happened. It is shameful.

“No one should be forced to wait nine hours outside in bad weather—especially a woman of her age.”

Steve said his mother had been waiting more than a year for an operation to replace her knee.

Rita had a replacement in September 2019 and was due to have an operation on her right knee six months later.

He said: “The pandemic delayed the surgery and it was his right knee that gave way and caused the fall, so the delay has compounded the problem.

“She’ll probably have to wait another year before that surgery and I don’t think it’s fair that my elderly mother should be in pain for the rest of her life.

“The pandemic has delayed routine operations and we are looking at a broken health system as they are still in suspended animation.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that she can go to her grave in pain without having an operation.”

Gran is now recovering in the hospital after being given a partial hip replacement.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service has apologized for the delay and said they are under “grave pressure”.

A spokesman said: “Local NHS services are under severe pressure; delays in hospital handovers unfortunately mean patients are waiting longer for an ambulance response.

“The paramedics in our control room spoke to the caller with the patient on several occasions to see if his condition had changed.

“Less than half of our patients are taken to hospital, but we continue to work with all local NHS partners to reduce delays so that crew can respond to the next incident as quickly as possible.”

Nigel Lee, Chief Operating Officer of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our hospitals are under immense pressure, with very high levels of demand for urgent care and the ongoing effects of Covid-19.

“This is unfortunately affecting patients who need other treatments, including some planned or elective surgeries, for which we apologize.

“We at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital are continuing to work with our health partners to treat as many orthopedic patients as possible, including those with the longest wait times.

“We are also taking steps to increase bed capacity at RSH to support the resumption of more elective surgeries as soon as possible.”

Neighbors rushed to Rita's help after hearing screams from the house.

Neighbors rushed to Rita’s help after hearing screams from the SWNS
Great-grandmother taken to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford

Great-grandmother taken to Princess Royal Hospital in Telfordcredit: SWNS

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