A 96-YEAR-OLD woman who lives just 400 metres from the Lagan Valley Hospital was taken to the RVH after a fall on Tuesday night and had to wait on a trolley for almost five hours.

Jean Chambers, who would normally have been treated in the Lisburn hospital was taken by ambulance to Belfast because the Lagan Valley Accident and Emergency Department is closed after 8pm each night.

Mrs Chambers’ ordeal began when she suffered head injuries after a fall on Tuesday night. Her daughter and son-in-law received a call from Fold Telecare to advise them her personal alarm was activated.

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“My wife and I were at the house in just over five minutes to find her on the floor with severe blood loss, though conscious,” explained Mrs Chambers’ son-in-law Tom Doran. “On calling 999 a quick response car arrived and a medic started to attend the injury. The ambulance crew took around 30 minutes as they had been in the Craigavon area. Instead of a 400 metre journey to the Lagan Valley we had to drive to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she lay on a trolley for almost five hours.

“The head wound required staples but thankfully was not serious and around 4am she was sent home.”

Mr Doran was full of praise for the local staff in Lisburn but is dismayed by the closure of the local hospital at night.

“Fold Telecare have an excellent system in place to monitor and care for our elderly, we then have the exceptional medics, ambulance crews, nurses and doctors in Lisburn,” continued Mr Doran. “Yet we have allowed our elected and esteemed minister (Edwin Poots) to put our community and loved ones in danger by his actions. What happens when he closes the City hospital, the Royal can’t cope now with four and a half hour waiting times to be seen.

“All our health service people, and certainly those I spoke with, despair at what they are being asked to do,

“They shouldn’t have to apologise when they are doing all they possibly can, but they are apologising. It is us who should be apologising to the health service for allowing ourselves to vote in people who clearly do not have the interests of their local community at the heart of their policies,” he concluded.