East of England Ambulance wants others to respond to falls

The manager of a complex of 53 flats for elderly people in Norfolk has raised concerns about a council service that offers help when residents fall.

Sharon Bowen from Shannock Court in Sheringham was called on Saturday when an elderly woman fell.

An ambulance crew said Norfolk Swift Response (NSW) should have been called.

The manager did not know if the woman was seriously hurt and was concerned about non-paramedics providing cover.

NSW said its service was set up specifically to help when elderly people fall and it had eight people across the county on duty at all times.

Their role is to help prevent elderly people being admitted to hospital.

Injury dilemma

"When an elderly person falls, they often do not wish to make a fuss and it needs an expert paramedic to assess if any injury is serious," Mrs Bowen said.

"Norfolk Swift Response is located in Norwich, Gorleston, King's Lynn and Dereham.

"These are all quite far from Sheringham and there are only two people on call at each location. It is better to call an ambulance," she said.

Brett Norton, from the East of England Ambulance Service, said: "We work with outside organisations to help us provide the overall service patients need.

"When a crew arrives at an incident it may be very different from what they have been told on the phone to expect.

"Some people to not need the emergency service.

"Following a fall with no significant injury then crews will pass the incident on to other support services such as Norfolk Swift Response."

Mrs Bowen said: "The signs of damage may not be immediately obvious nor the causes of the fall which could be a trip or giddiness caused by hypertension or other condition.

"Our dilemma and concern is that we do not know if a fall is serious or not."

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