74-year-old man told to wait 20 hours for ambulance after breaking foot

An ambulance crew was left "shaken" after crashing into a ditch. Picture: Archant Library.

An ambulance crew was left "shaken" after crashing into a ditch. Picture: Archant Library.

A 74-year-old man who fell off his grandson's scooter and broke his ankle was told he would have to wait 20 hours for an ambulance.

Barry Buttle was playing with his two grandchildren at Darby Park, Beccles, when he had the accident riding his grandson's scooter on a grass bank beside the slide.

To slow himself down, Mr Buttle put his foot on the ground, and his ankle snapped beneath him, leaving him on the floor and in terrible pain.

He said: "All my life I have been in to my cars and motorbikes and driving at fast speeds and never sustained any injury so it's funny that it's my grandson's scooter which has caused my first injury.

"Once I crashed I looked at my foot and it was pointing the other way. It made me feel very uneasy and sick. I was shocked.

"My son then called for an ambulance and was told there was a 20-hour wait. He then left and returned with two chaps and the scooter.

"My son and the two chaps lifted me up, stood my strong leg on the scooter and managed to then ride me across the park some 400 yards to my son's car and drive me to A&E.

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"The bumping about managed to make my foot fall somewhat back into place," he said.

broken foot

Mr Barry Buttles foot when they got to A&E after it had fallen back into place. - Credit: Barry Buttle

The ambulance service has since apologised but Mr Buttle's son, Kevin, said the delay was "crazy" and "alarming".

"My dad was on the floor in pain in the glaring sun. To say the least it was disappointing," he said.

He added: "When we got to the James Paget the staff were brilliant, they were fast and caring and assisted him straight away. I have nothing but praise for the hospital staff."

x-ray image

The X-Ray image of Mr Barry Buttle's foot taken by radiology department at the James Paget hospital. - Credit: Barry Buttle

A spokesperson from East of England Ambulance Service Trust said: "We would like to apologise to Mr Buttle and his family for the delay in responding to his accident.

"Our services are under extreme pressure and we must prioritise the most life-threatening incidents such as people with breathing difficulties and heart attacks.

"We were initially called to a report of a man who had dislocated an ankle at 4.13pm. This case was reviewed and upgraded at 4.34pm but we were unable to send an ambulance immediately.

"We were informed that by 5.35pm the patient had made their own way to hospital.

"Again, we would like to extend our apologies to Mr Buttle."