Mathew Hulbert describes his mum’s 11 hour ambulance wait

Many of us will have seen on social media that Barwell Lib Dem Councillor Mathew Hulbert lost his mum, Jackie, last week. We were all shocked that she had to wait 11 hours for an ambulance after a fall at her home. The picture, taken by Mathew’s sister,  shows  a happy Mathew and Jackie enjoying a drink earlier this year.

Mathew went on LBC last night to talk to Iain Dale about their ordeal.

A week ago yesterday my mum fell in the early hours. She pressed her buzzer. I got to the house. She said her ribs hurt so we didn’t move her.  We phoned an ambulance and they said that they were telling people it would be 10 hours before one came but not to worry, it would be sooner.

Unfortunately, the hours passed by. Mathew kept kept ringing up and was being told that the ambulance would be there as soon as possible.

It was the indignity of it for my mum, 78, frail, scared wondering when help would come and it didn’t for 11 hours.

It was incredibly difficult. This is someone you love and who brought you up and cared for you.

Eventually, after 11 hours, the paramedics arrived. Mathew said;

They couldn’t have been more caring and compassionate but it was still 11 hours too late.

Jackie was conscious and chatting as they took her off to hospital and at that point, there was no indication that she was in any danger.

Sadly, the next morning Mathew got a call from the hospital and was asked to get there immediately. It turned out that Jackie had a UTI that had turned to Sepsis. She died on Tuesday evening.

Iain was very sensitive in his questioning and said that it must be in the family’s minds that there was a connection between the delay and Jackie’s death.

Mathew said that there was no way of knowing if the wait made things worse, but there is no escape from the indignity Jackie went through in those 11 hours.

Iain said that it was good that Mathew was speaking out so that experiences like this don’t get swept under the carpet and those in charge are aware of what people have gone through.

Mathew was full of praise for the paramedics and ambulance staff:

I’m not blaming the ambulance people. They join the service because they want to help people. I hope that this can be gripped cross party so that people don’t suffer like my poor, dear mum did.

It takes enormous courage to recount such an awful ordeal so articulately but it is so important that people understand the reality of the state of our public services and the human impact of those failures. Mathew wants those who are running the service and the Government to take note and provide the resources so that nobody has to go through this again.

I am not sure I could have spoken with such clarity and such compassion. I am very proud of Mathew.

We send our love and sympathy to Mathew and all of his family as they come to terms with the loss of their much loved mum.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • Are we raising this at PM’s questions tomorrow?

  • We had a very similar experience with my very elderly mother.

    Middle of the night, her left hip dislocated “spontaneously” leaving her in severe pain.

    Took the ambulance – West Sussex – six hours to arrive.

    She now makes light of this – war generation and forgetfulness. But terrible hours.

  • Graham Jeffs 19th Jul '22 - 2:34pm

    A friend of mine in his late sixties suffered a fall, suspected stroke, outside his local West Midlands railway station about a month ago.

    In this instance the ambulance was there pretty promptly. Great staff. But the ambulance then had to queue for 15 hours before he could be admitted. Then he was in a corridor for 9 hours.

    In spite of all this he is getting better. And it was a stroke. Maybe he was lucky.

  • Stories like this break all of us who work for Ambulance Trusts. Mathew is absolutely right- it’s not acceptable this happened- I’m grateful he’s so understanding that this isn’t what any of us want to see.

    We haven’t had enough staff for ages – we’ve been relying on staff doing overtime to plug the gaps but after 2.5 years people are burning out. People at the trust I work for are leaving – either because the pay and conditions are better elsewhere or the amount of abuse we receive is increasing and there’s only so much you can take. We can’t recruit fast enough to make that up.

    I adore my job, but even I’m looking elsewhere- no matter how ‘fast paced’ and ‘high pressure’ a workplace is anything short of performing surgery is nothing compared to what we’re dealing with. Every single shift is like the 2 hours after the pubs kick out on a Friday night in summer after payday used to be and dealing with it for an entire 8-12 hour shift every single shift is soul crushing.

    We need more money throughout the NHS so we can recruit more staff, create facilities to start dealing with population shifts that haven’t been addressed in decades, get more resources and pay the staff we have as the professionals they are.

    It’s the only way we’re going to get the service we need to help the people we love.

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