Injured child was refused an ambulance - despite having a broken arm

A father was “shocked” when his eight year old was refused an ambulance following an accident in Egerton Park.

Pete Thunders contacted the Observer to say his son Liam was the injured child in last week’s report which highlighted parents’ fears for safety in the play area.

Liam fell on his arm having jumped from the top of the crows nest ladder - something he had done many times, but on this occasion he landed awkwardly.

Pete said: “It was actually a really bad break - the bone was sticking out. It was pretty nasty.”

A nearby adult made a call to the emergency services and Pete was stunned to be told the ambulance would not respond to what was assessed “a clear break”. He was then forced to drive his son up to the Conquest himself - all this with Liam having had no pain relief.

Pete, of Sutherland Avenue, claims he told the team at the hospital about the lack of response, and followed up by making a complaint to the ambulance service.

He said: “The ambulance refused to attend. I had to run and get my car, then put my son in the car and drive to the hospital. It was quite a distance from Egerton Park to the Conquest Hospital on that busy day with the traffic along Bexhill Road. But he needed pain relief straight away because he was in agony. The Conquest complained to the ambulance call centre and tried to find out the reason. I was horrified that the ambulance didn’t come. It was a mad panic situation, it was an emergency and they should have come.”

Liam suffered a break in two places and had an operation to put a plate in his arm. He stayed in overnight and days later, on Wednesday, attended the hospital for plaster to be put on. Pete added: “A&E was superb, you couldn’t fault them. It was the ambulance...I was shocked. I thought they were there for attending emergencies, but they didn’t.”

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) spokesperson responded: “SECAmb takes any concerns raised about the service it provides extremely seriously.

“All our 999 calls are triaged based on the information provided by the caller and we prioritise life-threatening calls. We have recently been contacted by Mr Thunder and appreciate that his son would have been in a lot pain and discomfort. We have undertaken to carry out an investigation into the individual circumstances surrounding the triage of this call and will contact Mr Thunder directly with our findings as soon as the investigation is complete.”