The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has apologised after a cyclist, seriously injured in a collision with a car being driven in Ruislip, west London, waited more than an hour for paramedics and was treated by police officers.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed a man in his 40s remains in hospital in a "serious condition" and officers were required to offer first aid during the wait eyewitnesses described as "more than an hour" before an ambulance arrived.
A passing driver told the Evening Standard: "I saw one police car attending giving first aid. The cyclist was in recovery with a hi-vis jacket covering him, the police must have got there quickly. I returned from Harrow and there were now two police cars and the cyclist was still lying in the road. But no ambulance."
A LAS spokesperson apologised for the delay and said the incident in Brackenhill, Ruislip Manor at 6pm on Monday happened at their busiest hour of the day.
"We apologise to patients who may have to wait longer than usual for an ambulance at this busy time and we are doing everything we can to improve our response times," they said.
"The time of the incident on Monday was the busiest hour of the day and we received almost 300 999 calls."
The Standard highlighted how the incident came on the same day NHS England published its January response time figures, showing that the average response time for 'Category 2' incidents (a serious condition, such as stroke or chest pain, which may require rapid assessment and/or urgent transport) was one hour 24 minutes, 12 times the NHS target.
The average was also 23 minutes slower than the previous record of 61 minutes seen last July and contrasts the 25 minutes response time for the same category of incidents back in December 2019.
In January we also heard from a road.cc reader who experienced concerning wait times in a west London hospital having been driven to A&E after being told the wait for an ambulance would be two to three hours.
The reader was commuting home through Richmond when he hit a large pothole, throwing him from his bike "and landing on my head, causing severe pain and screaming".
"Passersby came to assist me and a doctor happened to be present and began to assess my condition. I attempted to sit up but my left arm was immobile and I realised it was injured. I was unable to determine the extent of my other injuries," the reader explained.
> Pothole pain — a road.cc reader's tale
The doctor passing by checked his spine and neck and the rider made his own way to hospital due to the long wait time, worsened by the wet and cold conditions.
Once at hospital things did not improve. "My experience at the A&E department was extremely difficult. I had to wait for over five hours without receiving any attention from medical staff, which caused my wife and family to leave. I was in a wheelchair and had to navigate my way around the department while not knowing the extent of my injury," the reader told us.
"During the night, I underwent several scans, during which I nearly passed out due to the severe pain. Unfortunately, there was no pain relief provided by the NHS and I was told that if I did not undergo the scans, my injury would not be treated properly. Despite feeling faint from the pain, I pushed through and eventually received a scan, after which a cast was put on my arm.
"I was recently assessed and it was discovered that I had suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs on my left side, a fracture in my elbow and damage to my neck."
The reader described the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the hospital stay, passing out due to the pain of the bone being repositioned, and was later told the bone would not heal properly so he would have to undergo surgery.
"After the surgery, I thought the worst was over, but soon after the doctors came back in and informed me that the cast had been applied incorrectly, so I had to go through another round of scans and have a new cast put on. This caused me to experience the same level of pain again and it was a very difficult and frustrating experience," the reader continued.
"My entire experience with the NHS was terrible, from the long wait times, to the lack of pain management. Even though I am now on the road to recovery, the whole experience has left me feeling scared and unsure about getting back on my bike. I hope that the situation in the NHS can improve soon, so that others don't have to go through a similar experience."
The pothole was repaired the day after the crash and road.cc contacted the NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospital the reader was treated at but has not received a reply.
Have you suffered a cycling-related injury which required hospital treatment this winter? What was your experience of the NHS? Did you need an ambulance? If so, how long was the response time?
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