The nephew of an 86-year-old man from Aberdeen has hit out after the ill pensioner was forced to wait more than 15 hours for an ambulance.
Arthur Rennie was finally admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary at 2.30am this morning – after a doctor called for an ambulance at 11am on November 30.
Mr Rennie, who lives in a care home in Dyce, had become unwell in the morning and the decision was made for him to be taken into hospital.
His nephew and only relative Scott Rennie, 51, described the situation as “outrageous”.
He confirmed his uncle is now on the mend and being cared for in hospital.
Church of Scotland minister Scott Rennie told The P&J: “The doctor was very professional and she discovered what was making my uncle sick, so she called for an ambulance for him to be admitted to hospital.”
When the ambulance failed to arrive, the care home phoned the ambulance service again.
He explained: “My uncle’s accommodation tried phoning again, but they got the message that it just had to wait because he wasn’t a priority.”
Ambulance waiting times increased 32% between 2021 and 2022 in Aberdeen.
Rev Rennie, who is from Aberdeen but now lives in London, added: “I think it’s just terrible that an elderly man who is unwell and needs to be admitted to hospital has to wait for so long for an ambulance to come.
“I just cannot believe this is the way to treat people in their 80s and something must be done about the situation.
“I understand that the ambulance service was busy, but the fact that someone in their 80s has to wait until the early morning of the day after the call for one to arrive is all wrong.
“It’s outrageous. What happened to my uncle is not acceptable.”
‘Lengthy hospital turnaround times’ to blame
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ““We’d like to sincerely apologise for the delay in reaching the patient and for any distress caused.
“Unfortunately, at the time of the call we were experiencing significant pressure on our services due to lengthy hospital turnaround times at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary which averaged in excess of two hours per vehicle.
“Our clinical advisors kept in regular contact with the patient to ensure his condition did not change and we hope he is recovering well.”
A spokesperson for NHS Grampian said: “Ambulances having to wait at the front door is regrettable and we apologise to anyone who has been impacted by this.
“At certain, often unpredictable points, we experience periods of exceptionally high demand at the Emergency Department.
“Our hospitals are currently facing sustained pressure due to the volume of acutely ill patients arriving, delayed discharges and staffing pressures. This can unfortunately lead to ambulances having to wait at the front door, as we are unable to admit more patients to the department.
“On Thursday, 158 patients were treated at the Emergency Department – 118 of these attendances were classed as majors.
“During periods of intense pressure, cases are triaged as normal with those facing life-threatening situations – such as heart attacks or strokes – continuing to be admitted rapidly for life-saving treatment as an absolute priority.
“It is vital patients phone NHS 24 on 111 before attending the Emergency Department or a Minor Injury Unit – unless the situation is life threatening, for instance a suspected stroke of heart attack, in which case you should call 999. Using the 111 service allows us to keep waiting times to a minimum and better manage hospital capacity.”