Woman, 97, who fractured hip in fall dies after neighbours ‘told to move her’ by Redbridge Lifeline

PUBLISHED: 15:27 07 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:29 08 January 2016

Paramedics attended the scene on Upton Lane

Paramedics attended the scene on Upton Lane

2013 Getty Images

A 97-year-old woman died after waiting nearly an hour and a half for an ambulance after pressing her personal alarm following a fall in her kitchen.

Doris Francis suffered a fractured hip at her home in Chadwell Heath and alerted Redbridge Lifeline, a council-run service for elderly and vulnerable people, which connects the person direct to a trained call handler.

The operator called her keyholders, Michael Lewis, 66, and his partner Anne Redway, 64, who say they were told by Lifeline to lift her from the floor, before waiting one hour and 28 minutes for help.

The first ambulance dispatched to her never arrived, after it was diverted to a patient in a more serious condition, despite Mrs Francis being classed as requiring a response within 30 minutes.

When paramedics arrived, Mr Lewis and Ms Redway say they were concerned she had suffered a stroke due to her erratic breathing.

At Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, it was discovered the pin from a previous fracture had come through the bone. Mrs Francis never regained consciousness after an operation.

Now, Ms Redway is demanding answers from Redbridge Lifeline.

She said: “I am so angry. I keep wishing that I had not moved her.”

Ms Redway says Lifeline told her there was only one responder at the 24-hour service, who was dealing with another call at the time and finished at 11.30pm.

“What are these people paying for?” she added.

John Coombes, chairman of Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum, said he was “appalled”. He said: “It’s shocking. It’s absolutely appalled me that nobody came from Lifeline.”

A council spokesman said the service had three responders, working 6:30am to 11:30pm, seven days per week, and was not a 24-hour service, rather an addition to the alarm system.

He said: “Our response service is an additional benefit, and we would not always send a responder out to a call.

“This service is provided on a priority basis depending on need and availability.

“When a call is initially received, our response is always based on the information given to us at that time.”

A London Ambulance spokeswoman apologised and said patients with serious or life-threatening conditions were prioritised.

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