9-year-old girl left in agony as she waits 40 minutes for ambulance after being hit by van

Libbie Wilson, who had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance after she was hit by a van

Libbie Wilson, who had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance after she was hit by a van

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl who was seriously injured in a road accident had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance.

Libbie Wilson was left with a broken leg and badly damaged shoulder after she was hit by a van when she fell off a kerb near her home in Tonge Moor.

Her father, Mark Bolton, called 999 but the family had to wait double the usual time the North West Ambulance Service takes to respond to such calls.

Ambulance bosses have now apologised for the delay following the accident — but said the service was experiencing “high levels of activity”.

Mr Bolton, of Pegamoid Street, said it was “frightening” to have to wait for so long as his daughter lay in agony in the street.

The 45-year-old added: “She was in a lot of pain and with her age I thought she would be a high priority for the paramedics and they would arrive quickly.

“I called just after 6pm and when no-one had arrived by 6.20pm I called again as I was really worried — I called again 10 minutes after that because nothing had happened, we were really frightened.”

NWAS said the third call from Mr Bolton and further information he provided led them to “upgrade” the call.

An ambulance arrived seven minutes after the third call.


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It was confirmed that after Mr Bolton made the initial call, at just after 6pm, the ambulance did not arrive until just before 6.45pm.

Mr Bolton said: “I just think there is a problem with how they prioritise calls as she should have been higher up the list.”

He added that the paramedics who attended agreed Libbie should have been treated faster.

Mr Bolton said: “One of the paramedics told me he had only started work at 6.30pm so it seems like they weren’t on their way before that.

“I was going mad at them but I think it is to do with the way the calls are prioritised.”

He said he is now considering making a formal complaint to NWAS.

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance said: “We are extremely sorry the patient’s family feel their daughter did not receive an appropriate response from us and do understand that waiting for an ambulance can be distressing for all involved.

“When received, all 999 calls are categorised within the control rooms, based on the information given by the caller, to ensure patients are assessed on the basis of their medical need, with those with immediately life-threatening conditions taking priority.

“Based on information given by the caller about the patient, the call was graded as 'green2', which requires a response within 20 minutes.

"Later on, due to further information given by the caller, the call was upgraded to a 'red2', which requires a response of eight minutes and we arrived on scene seven minutes from when the call was upgraded.

“Unfortunately at the time of this call we were experiencing high levels of activity and the patient waited longer than anticipated.

“We haven’t received a complaint from the patient’s family but we would urge them to contact us directly to discuss their concerns.”

Comments (20)

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6:22am Thu 3 Jul 14

oftbewildered2 says...

999 callers are often extremely anxious and traumatised - more so if a child is involved; surely it is part of the call handler's job remit to ask the right questions to ascertain that the correct grading is given? I remember calling 999 when my dad was ill - all I could do was gabble - all the words were going through my head at once. Luckily we did not have to wait long
999 callers are often extremely anxious and traumatised - more so if a child is involved; surely it is part of the call handler's job remit to ask the right questions to ascertain that the correct grading is given? I remember calling 999 when my dad was ill - all I could do was gabble - all the words were going through my head at once. Luckily we did not have to wait long oftbewildered2
  • Score: 9

6:53am Thu 3 Jul 14

Hulton Park says...

"We are extremely sorry the patinet's family feel ..."

A classic bureaucratic non-apology, meaning "we regret the fact that you've had the temerity to complain and make this public".
"We are extremely sorry the patinet's family feel ..." A classic bureaucratic non-apology, meaning "we regret the fact that you've had the temerity to complain and make this public". Hulton Park
  • Score: 11

7:15am Thu 3 Jul 14

Undetectableman says...

The service was experiencing “high levels of activity”.
This in fact translates to the service has been cut back to the bone and can no longer cope with the workload.
It is appalling the way that the management sets targets for dealing with emergency calls then attempt to massage the figures when things go wrong
ie" due to further information given by the caller, the call was upgraded to a 'red2"
The service was experiencing “high levels of activity”. This in fact translates to the service has been cut back to the bone and can no longer cope with the workload. It is appalling the way that the management sets targets for dealing with emergency calls then attempt to massage the figures when things go wrong ie" due to further information given by the caller, the call was upgraded to a 'red2" Undetectableman
  • Score: 17

7:58am Thu 3 Jul 14

JustBecause says...

We have the best emergency services in the world, occasionally things go slightly wrong, it's not a 100% system it never will be.

If everyone used the system properly then resources wouldn't be so stretched, ambulances are treated like some sort of taxi for minor or plain stupid health issues.

They are their at the end of the day for "emergency" use, unfortunately emergency today means a splinter or broken finger, coupled with dumb people and a attitude that everything is there to serve them, inevitably leads to the odd real incident being missed.
We have the best emergency services in the world, occasionally things go slightly wrong, it's not a 100% system it never will be. If everyone used the system properly then resources wouldn't be so stretched, ambulances are treated like some sort of taxi for minor or plain stupid health issues. They are their at the end of the day for "emergency" use, unfortunately emergency today means a splinter or broken finger, coupled with dumb people and a attitude that everything is there to serve them, inevitably leads to the odd real incident being missed. JustBecause
  • Score: 35

8:01am Thu 3 Jul 14

Reed Lover says...

I smell a compensation claim..
I smell a compensation claim.. Reed Lover
  • Score: 4

8:23am Thu 3 Jul 14

marco999 says...

I hope the little girl didn’t experience too much pain and I hope that she makes a full recovery. I do think however that it’s unfair to blame the ambulance service just because they didn’t come immediately. I’m sure they did the best they could with the resources available to them. Unfortunately there isn’t one ambulance and a team of paramedics available for every person in the UK and some kind of prioritising must be considered when a person calls 999. I’m sure the child’s father believed that his daughter should have been high on the list of priorities but I also guess that a person whose elderly mother had just fallen and broken her hip thought the same. Maybe the bloke on the building site with a nail through his foot or the pregnant woman whose waters just broke in Asda also felt that their case was a high priority. It must be a very difficult job for 999 call operators to prioritise their resources just as it’s a difficult job to be an ambulance driver, a paramedic or a nurse at the hospital. At the end of the day though, my emergency is just as valid and urgent as anyone else’s emergency whether that may be a child an old person or anyone in between.
I hope the little girl didn’t experience too much pain and I hope that she makes a full recovery. I do think however that it’s unfair to blame the ambulance service just because they didn’t come immediately. I’m sure they did the best they could with the resources available to them. Unfortunately there isn’t one ambulance and a team of paramedics available for every person in the UK and some kind of prioritising must be considered when a person calls 999. I’m sure the child’s father believed that his daughter should have been high on the list of priorities but I also guess that a person whose elderly mother had just fallen and broken her hip thought the same. Maybe the bloke on the building site with a nail through his foot or the pregnant woman whose waters just broke in Asda also felt that their case was a high priority. It must be a very difficult job for 999 call operators to prioritise their resources just as it’s a difficult job to be an ambulance driver, a paramedic or a nurse at the hospital. At the end of the day though, my emergency is just as valid and urgent as anyone else’s emergency whether that may be a child an old person or anyone in between. marco999
  • Score: 23

9:11am Thu 3 Jul 14

stereo_world says...

Reed Lover wrote:
I smell a compensation claim..
Yes, think of all the pocket money she's missed out on.
[quote][p][bold]Reed Lover[/bold] wrote: I smell a compensation claim..[/p][/quote]Yes, think of all the pocket money she's missed out on. stereo_world
  • Score: 5

9:12am Thu 3 Jul 14

Annelime says...

As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing!
As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing! Annelime
  • Score: 18

10:30am Thu 3 Jul 14

Donkey Stone says...

Perhaps the people who ring an ambulance when they don't need to are also to blame.
Perhaps the people who ring an ambulance when they don't need to are also to blame. Donkey Stone
  • Score: 23

11:18am Thu 3 Jul 14

albertmodley says...

Donkey Stone wrote:
Perhaps the people who ring an ambulance when they don't need to are also to blame.
Like clogging up A and E with a splinter in the thumb!See whinging and wailing of stupid idiot in an earlier report.World's gone mad.
[quote][p][bold]Donkey Stone[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the people who ring an ambulance when they don't need to are also to blame.[/p][/quote]Like clogging up A and E with a splinter in the thumb!See whinging and wailing of stupid idiot in an earlier report.World's gone mad. albertmodley
  • Score: 11

11:56am Thu 3 Jul 14

mrs philainsy says...

Extreemley sorry a child was in pain - but could a Relative, Neighbour, Taxi not have been called to take the little girl to A&E ?

Just sitting there for 45 minutes seems slightly laid back, when another route could have been taken, transport wise.

Bolton Ambulance Service are very busy.

Just saying.
Extreemley sorry a child was in pain - but could a Relative, Neighbour, Taxi not have been called to take the little girl to A&E ? Just sitting there for 45 minutes seems slightly laid back, when another route could have been taken, transport wise. Bolton Ambulance Service are very busy. Just saying. mrs philainsy
  • Score: 16

1:02pm Thu 3 Jul 14

parky85 says...

Annelime wrote:
As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing!
Being there myself for this incident, the police advised us to wait for the ambulance.

And not knowing what her injuries were would you really move a child in that much pain??

Don't think so!
[quote][p][bold]Annelime[/bold] wrote: As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing![/p][/quote]Being there myself for this incident, the police advised us to wait for the ambulance. And not knowing what her injuries were would you really move a child in that much pain?? Don't think so! parky85
  • Score: 10

5:57pm Thu 3 Jul 14

stevie1471 says...

This is happening far to often, if you live in horwich its usually 1hr -1 1/2 hrs at present. Couple of things, one....... not paramedics fault its the cut backs, nwas are not being forth coming with the truth that they cant cope, and giving us false info like..... high level of activity......., no its not...IT IS THE NORM. Those who work for NWAS say the same, paramedics and administrators, I am a first aider and attended numerous incidents, we had a red2 priority for 6 year old girl knocked down, 4 calls and 1hr 20mins later the ambulance arrived, I was also appalled by response of police, I had to administer first aid in middle of busy road, 40 mins for police to arrive. As for the people slating the parents for not taking them in car/ taxi, any first aider or someone with any basic knowledge know that you DO NOT move a casualty after an accident like that incase of spinal injuries, Only a scan can determine this, so as a precaution you NEVER move someone in this kind of situation, so the parents DID THE RIGHT THING. Imagine how bad it will be when they cut another ambulance which is looking very likely. I personally trying to set up first responder unit for horwich to ease this a bit, perhaps the Bolton council or NWAS set these up in different area's. How may people have to suffer or die before something is done???? Its a roulette at the minute.
This is happening far to often, if you live in horwich its usually 1hr -1 1/2 hrs at present. Couple of things, one....... not paramedics fault its the cut backs, nwas are not being forth coming with the truth that they cant cope, and giving us false info like..... high level of activity......., no its not...IT IS THE NORM. Those who work for NWAS say the same, paramedics and administrators, I am a first aider and attended numerous incidents, we had a red2 priority for 6 year old girl knocked down, 4 calls and 1hr 20mins later the ambulance arrived, I was also appalled by response of police, I had to administer first aid in middle of busy road, 40 mins for police to arrive. As for the people slating the parents for not taking them in car/ taxi, any first aider or someone with any basic knowledge know that you DO NOT move a casualty after an accident like that incase of spinal injuries, Only a scan can determine this, so as a precaution you NEVER move someone in this kind of situation, so the parents DID THE RIGHT THING. Imagine how bad it will be when they cut another ambulance which is looking very likely. I personally trying to set up first responder unit for horwich to ease this a bit, perhaps the Bolton council or NWAS set these up in different area's. How may people have to suffer or die before something is done???? Its a roulette at the minute. stevie1471
  • Score: 6

9:30pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Anonymous999999 says...

The real issue here is the slow response of the EMERGENCY services. EMERGENCY being the word. EMERGENCY vehicles and paramedics cannot respond to EMERGENCIES appropriately because they are busy attending to members of the public who completely abuse this service. Calling an EMERGENCY ambulance because you cannot sleep, have chronic sinusitis, have a cold , are an alcoholic who wants to stop drinking is completely irresponsible and a complete abuse of an NHS service. It is because of such behaviour that real EMERGENCY cases are left waiting excessive amounts of time. These incidents will become more frequent and deaths will ensue. The NHS of which we should be so proud is buckling under the abuse. The clue is in the title EMERGENCY services and ACCIDENT and EMERGENCY Department. Very shortly it will be NHS RIP and this is not due to our ageing population but due to blatant abuse of the service.
The real issue here is the slow response of the EMERGENCY services. EMERGENCY being the word. EMERGENCY vehicles and paramedics cannot respond to EMERGENCIES appropriately because they are busy attending to members of the public who completely abuse this service. Calling an EMERGENCY ambulance because you cannot sleep, have chronic sinusitis, have a cold , are an alcoholic who wants to stop drinking is completely irresponsible and a complete abuse of an NHS service. It is because of such behaviour that real EMERGENCY cases are left waiting excessive amounts of time. These incidents will become more frequent and deaths will ensue. The NHS of which we should be so proud is buckling under the abuse. The clue is in the title EMERGENCY services and ACCIDENT and EMERGENCY Department. Very shortly it will be NHS RIP and this is not due to our ageing population but due to blatant abuse of the service. Anonymous999999
  • Score: 1

9:50pm Thu 3 Jul 14

cranks says...

Too many target hitting cars and not enough people moving ambulances .....although they failed in this instance if they get the car there in 8 minutes its job done.....if you have to wait 30mins to be moved it means nothing they have hit there target......
Too many target hitting cars and not enough people moving ambulances .....although they failed in this instance if they get the car there in 8 minutes its job done.....if you have to wait 30mins to be moved it means nothing they have hit there target...... cranks
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Annelime says...

parky85 wrote:
Annelime wrote:
As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing!
Being there myself for this incident, the police advised us to wait for the ambulance.

And not knowing what her injuries were would you really move a child in that much pain??

Don't think so!
I wasn't there but I can say that I couldn't stand and watch my child 'in that much pain' waiting 40 minutes would have done nothing for her injuries had they been worse! If I wanted to carry my child to hospital there's no way the police would stop me!
[quote][p][bold]parky85[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Annelime[/bold] wrote: As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing![/p][/quote]Being there myself for this incident, the police advised us to wait for the ambulance. And not knowing what her injuries were would you really move a child in that much pain?? Don't think so![/p][/quote]I wasn't there but I can say that I couldn't stand and watch my child 'in that much pain' waiting 40 minutes would have done nothing for her injuries had they been worse! If I wanted to carry my child to hospital there's no way the police would stop me! Annelime
  • Score: 3

10:40pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Lancashire always says...

Annelime wrote:
As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing!
Waited 40 minutes even if I didn't have a car I would have got a neighbour out ! went mad at them on the phone isn't this abuse ?? Maybe they had to evaluate staff safety when he went mad on the phone ! Sorry your daughter was hurt and I sincerely hope she is ok but when I cracked
my skull and knocked myself out ( when I was 9 in 1969} my Mam took me on the bus to Bolton Royal Infirmary we sat there all day whilst I was treated then went home on the bus again. I am not saying that is what you should have done but if she was crying and not unconscious this may have made them think it was not as urgent as first reported, Get a grip man !!
[quote][p][bold]Annelime[/bold] wrote: As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing![/p][/quote]Waited 40 minutes even if I didn't have a car I would have got a neighbour out ! went mad at them on the phone isn't this abuse ?? Maybe they had to evaluate staff safety when he went mad on the phone ! Sorry your daughter was hurt and I sincerely hope she is ok but when I cracked my skull and knocked myself out ( when I was 9 in 1969} my Mam took me on the bus to Bolton Royal Infirmary we sat there all day whilst I was treated then went home on the bus again. I am not saying that is what you should have done but if she was crying and not unconscious this may have made them think it was not as urgent as first reported, Get a grip man !! Lancashire always
  • Score: 0

11:38pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Annelime says...

Lancashire always wrote:
Annelime wrote:
As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing!
Waited 40 minutes even if I didn't have a car I would have got a neighbour out ! went mad at them on the phone isn't this abuse ?? Maybe they had to evaluate staff safety when he went mad on the phone ! Sorry your daughter was hurt and I sincerely hope she is ok but when I cracked
my skull and knocked myself out ( when I was 9 in 1969} my Mam took me on the bus to Bolton Royal Infirmary we sat there all day whilst I was treated then went home on the bus again. I am not saying that is what you should have done but if she was crying and not unconscious this may have made them think it was not as urgent as first reported, Get a grip man !!
That's what I'm saying! I think you may have misunderstood! I'm not this little girls parent! I am not linked to this story other than commenting my view which is that god forbid if it was my child I would have driven her myself!
[quote][p][bold]Lancashire always[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Annelime[/bold] wrote: As a parent myself there is no way I would wait 40 minutes! I would have driven her myself! There are always other options!! A taxi!! I would could not have just sat there! Not condoning the ambulance service but the parents had other options than do nothing![/p][/quote]Waited 40 minutes even if I didn't have a car I would have got a neighbour out ! went mad at them on the phone isn't this abuse ?? Maybe they had to evaluate staff safety when he went mad on the phone ! Sorry your daughter was hurt and I sincerely hope she is ok but when I cracked my skull and knocked myself out ( when I was 9 in 1969} my Mam took me on the bus to Bolton Royal Infirmary we sat there all day whilst I was treated then went home on the bus again. I am not saying that is what you should have done but if she was crying and not unconscious this may have made them think it was not as urgent as first reported, Get a grip man !![/p][/quote]That's what I'm saying! I think you may have misunderstood! I'm not this little girls parent! I am not linked to this story other than commenting my view which is that god forbid if it was my child I would have driven her myself! Annelime
  • Score: 2

7:49am Fri 4 Jul 14

JustBecause says...

stevie1471 wrote:
This is happening far to often, if you live in horwich its usually 1hr -1 1/2 hrs at present. Couple of things, one....... not paramedics fault its the cut backs, nwas are not being forth coming with the truth that they cant cope, and giving us false info like..... high level of activity......., no its not...IT IS THE NORM. Those who work for NWAS say the same, paramedics and administrators, I am a first aider and attended numerous incidents, we had a red2 priority for 6 year old girl knocked down, 4 calls and 1hr 20mins later the ambulance arrived, I was also appalled by response of police, I had to administer first aid in middle of busy road, 40 mins for police to arrive. As for the people slating the parents for not taking them in car/ taxi, any first aider or someone with any basic knowledge know that you DO NOT move a casualty after an accident like that incase of spinal injuries, Only a scan can determine this, so as a precaution you NEVER move someone in this kind of situation, so the parents DID THE RIGHT THING. Imagine how bad it will be when they cut another ambulance which is looking very likely. I personally trying to set up first responder unit for horwich to ease this a bit, perhaps the Bolton council or NWAS set these up in different area's. How may people have to suffer or die before something is done???? Its a roulette at the minute.
Rubbish, the whole don't move someone, has been blown out of all proportion, health and safety gone mad. Its why the fire brigade cut the roofs of so many cars. It's why there are 2zillion miles of traffic when someone bumps their car.

Don't know the stats, but every single time I have heard or seen a spinal board being used etc, the results has always been negative on any back problems.

So the moral of the story is only call and ambulance if there is an immediate threat to life, it's not a taxi, or your personal first aid kit.
[quote][p][bold]stevie1471[/bold] wrote: This is happening far to often, if you live in horwich its usually 1hr -1 1/2 hrs at present. Couple of things, one....... not paramedics fault its the cut backs, nwas are not being forth coming with the truth that they cant cope, and giving us false info like..... high level of activity......., no its not...IT IS THE NORM. Those who work for NWAS say the same, paramedics and administrators, I am a first aider and attended numerous incidents, we had a red2 priority for 6 year old girl knocked down, 4 calls and 1hr 20mins later the ambulance arrived, I was also appalled by response of police, I had to administer first aid in middle of busy road, 40 mins for police to arrive. As for the people slating the parents for not taking them in car/ taxi, any first aider or someone with any basic knowledge know that you DO NOT move a casualty after an accident like that incase of spinal injuries, Only a scan can determine this, so as a precaution you NEVER move someone in this kind of situation, so the parents DID THE RIGHT THING. Imagine how bad it will be when they cut another ambulance which is looking very likely. I personally trying to set up first responder unit for horwich to ease this a bit, perhaps the Bolton council or NWAS set these up in different area's. How may people have to suffer or die before something is done???? Its a roulette at the minute.[/p][/quote]Rubbish, the whole don't move someone, has been blown out of all proportion, health and safety gone mad. Its why the fire brigade cut the roofs of so many cars. It's why there are 2zillion miles of traffic when someone bumps their car. Don't know the stats, but every single time I have heard or seen a spinal board being used etc, the results has always been negative on any back problems. So the moral of the story is only call and ambulance if there is an immediate threat to life, it's not a taxi, or your personal first aid kit. JustBecause
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Darrennz says...

An inquiry should be done to identify what went wrong. Wrong prioritisation could mean death for the patient,a lot can happen in a vital few minutes. I know of another situation where a parent had a sick child and ended up racing to the hospital in her own car with the child going straight to resus.
An inquiry should be done to identify what went wrong. Wrong prioritisation could mean death for the patient,a lot can happen in a vital few minutes. I know of another situation where a parent had a sick child and ended up racing to the hospital in her own car with the child going straight to resus. Darrennz
  • Score: 0

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