Published: 00:01, 12 January 2017
| Updated: 11:22, 12 January 2017
A grandmother lay in a car park for three hours waiting for an ambulance after being knocked down by a car.
Karen Barnes, a charity worker from Rainham, was face-down on the cold ground in pain after being hit outside Aldi supermarket in Sittingbourne at 10.30am yesterday.
An ambulance was unable to get to her until three hours later because the emergency services were so over-stretched.
Her daughter Vikki Young, who was with her when it happened, posted a picture on Facebook to highlight how long her mum had waited.
She wrote: “This is how my poor mum laid as she waited three hours for an ambulance. Three hours she laid on the cold wet floor of a car park after being hit by a car. I knew the NHS were stretched but this is just disgusting.”
The NHS across north Kent and Medway has been warning patients that it is experiencing significant pressure, with unprecedented levels of demand for A&E services.
Mrs Young, who is also from Rainham, said a response car arrived at 1.30pm but the medic could only give her mum painkillers and try to keep her warm and could not move her.
She said her mum had to wait another half an hour for an ambulance to arrive before she was lifted from the ground and taken to Medway hospital.
There the 60-year-old waited another two hours in the trauma department and, almost 24 hours after the accident, she was still waiting in A&E.
Speaking to KentOnline today, Mrs Young said: “It was a passer-by who first called the ambulance and was told they would get send someone as soon as they could but warned they were over-stretched. They said she was the highest category patient.
"She was freezing and in a lot of pain" - daughter Vikki Young
“After 45 minutes, which I thought was a long time, I called again, and was told they were trying to get someone out to us.
"But even though she was category A there were other patients who were a priority because they were unconscious or not breathing.
"Mum didn’t lose consciousness, but she wasn’t far from it. She was freezing and when she moved she was in a lot of pain.
“The Aldi staff were brilliant and people came out with blankets and a pillow for her. We didn’t want to move her because we were worried she might have a spinal injury.
“When the ambulance car arrived he was able to give mum paracetamol through a cannula and put heat pads on her but he could not move her until the ambulance arrived.”
“When they got to Medway hospital the ambulance staff had to wait an hour with mum because there was nowhere for her to go.
"That’s an hour that the crew and the ambulance were off the road. And there were several other ambulance crews with other patients.”
Mrs Barnes, who is grandmother to young cancer battler Ruby Young, was eventually given an x-ray and told she had suffered a broken pelvis.
She has been waiting an overflow area of A&E to be admitted to a ward.
Her daughter added: “The poor hospital staff were amazing but they looked run ragged. It was chaos.
"When I asked when mum would go on a ward, the nurse told me they were at 100% capacity, there were no beds anywhere.”
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said they were called at 10.4am and that a car was at the scene before 12.30pm. An ambulance crew then arrived just before 1.30pm.
He said: "We are very sorry it took us longer than we would like to attend this call and would invite the family to contact us direct in order to look into their concerns in more detail.
"We are, along with the NHS as a whole, very busy, meaning is taking us longer than usual to attend some incidents, and in particular calls which are not immediately life-threatening.”
Clare Hughes, senior matron in the emergency department at Medway hospital, said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Barnes for her experience under our care.
"In keeping with the national situation, we are extremely busy at this current time. We have been seeing an average of about 322 patients per day – equivalent to an increase of approximately 55 patients each day in comparison to this time last year.
“Unfortunately, this has resulted in some patients waiting longer to be seen after they have been triaged and admitted. Despite these operational pressures, we will always do our utmost to ensure patients receive the care they should expect and deserve.”