As picture of gran, 93, left in agony on floor shocks the nation pray this is not your mum today amid ambulance strikes
THE family of a gran, 93, left in agony on the floor for 25 hours have spoken of their fears that today’s 999 strike will make the crisis even worse.
Elizabeth Davies was screaming in pain and could not be moved for a day after breaking her hip at a care home.
More patients are set to suffer like Mrs Davies as union ambulance strikes go ahead across England and Wales today.
Worried ministers and health chiefs have warned Brits not to do anything “risky” during the walkout, and to avoid drinking too much, playing sport or even driving.
They warn the strike by Unison, GMB and Unite members leaves the country in “dangerous territory” with no guarantee of patient safety.
Even heart attack and stroke victims could be denied ambulances while anyone who is not dying will face long delays.
There will be more shocking waits like that of Mrs Davies, of Llanbedrog, North Wales, who fell on Saturday morning but didn’t get to hospital until Sunday afternoon.
After finally being taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, she endured another 12-hour wait before getting a ward bed.
Son Ian and daughter-in-law Susan, from Pwllheli, said they and the care home phoned for the ambulance service ten times.
Mrs Davies had a pillow propped under her head and a heater put nearby.
And she was given an absorbent pad so she could go to the toilet during the wait.
The family said: “We’re not sure how the surgery has gone until we get there but they’ve put a do-not-resuscitate order on her notes.
“It was very upsetting to see her on the floor screaming in pain.”
Ian added: “It was unacceptable. The whole of the NHS is struggling.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service apologised.
It blamed winter pressures, high demand and staff illness.
The service will be one of ten striking in England and Wales today.
It will leave Brits with only a bare-bones service everywhere except East Anglia and Isle of Wight.
Eight services this week declared critical incidents before industrial action even started because they were crumbling under pressure.
Only life-or-death calls will be guaranteed a response.
North West Ambulance Service said the priorities would be cardiac arrest, stopped breathing, unconsciousness, allergic shock, fitting and severe bleeding or head injuries.
Nick Smith, a director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Ambulances will still be able to respond but only where there is an immediate risk to life.”
It was very upsetting to see her on the floor screaming in pain. It was unacceptable. The whole of the NHS is struggling.
Elizabeth’s son Ian
Politicians and NHS bosses said Brits should act “sensibly” to take pressure off A&E departments.
Health Minister Will Quince told the BBC: “Where people are planning any risky activity I’d strongly encourage them not to because there will be disruption. Whether it’s, for example, contact sport, they may want to review that.”
Downing Street added: “We would never recommend anyone put themselves in harm’s way on any given day.
“The public, as we saw through Covid, can be trusted to use their common sense.”
NHS England said people should use services wisely and not call 999 unless necessary.
Medical director Prof Sir Stephen Powis said: “People can take sensible steps to keep safe and not end up in A&E. That could be drinking responsibly or checking on a family member or neighbour.”
Efforts to avoid the strike broke down yesterday amid clashes over inflation-busting pay rises.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I have met with ambulance union reps today urging them to honour their commitment to provide responses to life-threatening emergency calls.
“Ultimately, union demands are unaffordable during these challenging times but, as I’ve said before, I’m open to engaging with unions on how to make the NHS a better place to work.”
Onay Kasab, at Unite, said: “The meeting was made entirely pointless by the attitude of Stephen Barclay who refused to discuss pay.
“How he hopes to get movement and resolve the dispute without discussing the key issue is mystifying.”
Today’s strike is expected to have a worse impact than the nurses’ walkouts and will be followed by a second day of action in some areas on December 28.
Writing to PM Rishi Sunak, the NHS Confederation’s Matthew Taylor said: “This is not something NHS leaders would ever say lightly, but many now tell us that they cannot guarantee patient safety.
“On health grounds alone, it is clear we have entered dangerous territory.”
The Sun is backing calls for strike-cover troops to get extra pay.
War hero Lincoln Jopp, 54, said it could come from strikers’ pay, adding: “Calling in the Army should be a last resort but it is fast becoming the first resort for this Government.
“This might make them think twice.”