AN employee bleeding heavily from a wound had to wait almost an hour for an ambulance after suffering a serious industrial accident, it has emerged.
Last night Jonathan Boggon, managing director of Darlington based North View Engineering Solutions, described the response time of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) as “disgraceful”.
The worker, in his 40s, suffered a severe injury to his lower leg in the accident at the engineering firm’s premises on Tuesday (July 22).
Staff made the initial 999 call at 2.10pm - followed by a further four calls as concern for his condition increased - but paramedics did not arrive until 2.56pm.
His condition was considered so serious that they then called in the Great North Air Ambulance which airlifted the man to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.
Mr Boggon said the company would be looking into the NEAS delay, which he described as “shocking”.
“The response time was disgraceful.,” he said.
“We have no concerns with the paramedics and air ambulance when they arrived – they were fantastic with what they did – but it was getting them here that was the problem.”
He added: “No matter how much emphasis I put on them that the lad was in a bad state, it didn’t seem to help.
“They asked further questions, but we couldn’t move him, we needed somebody who was a professional.”
A spokesman for NEAS pointed out that it is meeting the majority of its response time targets, adding the service had an eight minute target response time for life-threatening calls, with a secondary target of 19 minutes – which was met in 95 per cent of cases.
However, the delay follows an incident on Monday in which an ambulance took almost four hours to reach a 24-year-old woman trapped in her car after a crash at the junction of the A174 and the A19, near Ingleby Barwick.
And in March, Prime Minister David Cameron promised to investigate response times in the North-East after an 85-year-old Darlington woman spent almost five hours lying on her bathroom floor after a fall before an ambulance arrived.
The NEAS spokesman said Tuesday’s delay was caused by the call initially being graded as non-life threatening.
He said: “We received a third party call at 2.10pm on Tuesday July 22 from the Darlington area reporting an industrial accident.
“The limited information provided by the caller meant that the call was classed as a green two non life-threatening situation.
“At 2.38pm a second call was received informing us that the patient was experiencing heavy bleeding; this upgraded the call to a red two, classed as life threatening.
“The ambulance arrived on the scene at 2.56pm, 18 minutes after the upgraded call.”
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) confirmed it was called to the scene by paramedics and took 18 minutes to arrive from a base near Penrith because the craft stationed at Durham Tees Valley Airport was already out on a job.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating the accident at North View which has been operating in Darlington since 1953.
Mr Boggon said that he could not comment further on the specifics of Tuesday’s accident because of the HSE’s involvement, but said that the company was conducting its own investigations.
He added that the company, which offers engineering services to the construction, steel, process, offshore and manufacturing industries, had a good safety record, with no previous work days lost through injuries onsite.