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Son makes 200 mile trip to his mother faster than local ambulance after it takes seven hours to arrive

The i logo The i 06/02/2019 Benjamin Butterworth
a bus driving down a street next to a car © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

A man who travelled almost 200 miles to help his injured mother managed to reach her before the local ambulance service.

Mark Clements caught a bus, tube and two trains to travel from Brixton, south London, to Exmouth, Devon, after his 77-year-old mother had a fall at home.

Family members made the initial emergency call at 9am on Saturday.

However the ambulance did not arrive until seven hours later, despite the station being 10 minutes from the house.

The family were horrified at the seven hour wait [Getty Images] © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd The family were horrified at the seven hour wait [Getty Images]

South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) apologised to the family and blamed the long delay on "an unprecedented rise in demand".

Emergency calls

Mr Clements said that when he arrived at the house his mother "was lying in an awkward position on a cold conservatory floor and was unable to move."

His journey from London to Exmouth took three hours and 40 minutes, but he still made it to the home at 15:10, 50 minutes before the ambulance.

Relatives had called 999 six times during the seven hour wait.

Video: Seven-year-old dials 999 to save his mother after she passes out (PA)


When paramedics finally arrived, Mr Clements said they were "equally appalled and astonished" at the delay.

"My mother is a very strong woman and it was heartbreaking to see her go through this experience," he added.

Response times

SWAS said it had classified the call as a category four case as the woman only required transport to hospital.

Mr Clements' mother is now recovering in hospital after a hip operation.

The service's average wait for such call outs is two hours and 21 minutes, compared with a national average of one hour and 24 minutes.

Its response time for life-threatening category one calls is seven minutes and 26 seconds, one second behind the national average.


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