Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 16:19 UK

Ex-paramedic slams ambulance wait

A former paramedic has criticised the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) for its slow response in reaching an injured teenager in Wirral.

Dale Cropper stopped to help the girl after she suffered a suspected broken leg falling off her bike in Moreton.

But after waiting almost an hour and calling three times, Mr Cropper took her to Arrowe Park hospital himself.

A NWAS spokeswoman said the response time was still within its target for non-life-threatening injuries.

Mr Cropper was driving along Reeds Lane on Thursday evening when he discovered the girl.

Whether the child had a serious injury or not, the ambulance did not turn up
Dale Cropper, former paramedic

He called 999 for an ambulance and the incident was given a category C rating by the operator - neither serious nor life-threatening.

But after waiting for almost an hour, Mr Dale decided to drive the girl to hospital for treatment.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "Her dad later rung me to say in fact her leg wasn't broken.

"But she'd been very shocked, very upset and she's twisted her knee badly.

"Whether the child had a serious injury or not, the ambulance did not turn up."

Mr Dale said it was not the kind of service the public should expect in a "civilised nation".

Pecking order

A spokeswoman for the service said: "It is not that we don't think the call was important but resources have to be allocated according to priority.

"The young lady was not in a serious or life-threatening situation and therefore her call was allocated what we would class as a category C, or green response.

"This, unfortunately, means that calls above that - categories B and A - get the preference."

The ambulance was allocated within 30 minutes of the initial call and was en-route to the location when it was cancelled, she added.

The NWAS target for category C cases is to respond to 95% of incidents within an hour.

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