Leicester

Ambulance service sorry after fire service takes casualties to hospital

Melton Road in Leicestershire Image copyright Google
Image caption The accident happened on Melton Road near Market Harborough

A couple injured in a high-speed crash were taken to hospital in the back of a fire engine because no ambulance was available.

Ian and Summer Swanwick were involved in the crash on a country road near Market Harborough on Monday evening.

After waiting two hours, they were taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary by the fire service, the family said.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) has apologised and promised a full investigation.

The pair were visiting Ian's sister, Helen Walmsley-Johnson, in Rutland when they crashed and had to be cut free from their vehicle.

'Banks of ambulances'

Mrs Walmsley-Johnson said police told her they had called for an ambulance but it would not arrive for two hours.

Updates on this story and more from Leicestershire

They later heard the service did not know what time they would arrive, so firefighters decided they would take the pair if an ambulance did not turn up by midnight.

Mrs Walmsley-Johnson said: "When we got to A&E I started to get crosser and crosser about the fact that there were banks of ambulances out there.

"They seemed to be hamstrung about how quickly they could hand over their patients and then get away."

Emas said the entire health system was under "extreme pressure" on Monday evening and it was "dealing with a high volume of life-threatening calls".

"We will be conducting a full investigation into the circumstances of the delay which will include liaising with our colleagues in the fire service."

The service said 10 out of 30 ambulances in use at the time were held up at Leicester Royal Infirmary, due to delays in patient handovers.

Leicestershire Fire Service said: "We have done it previously. When the condition of the casualties are such that our crews can transport them then we do that rather than wait for an ambulance which could be some time."

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