A well-known former opera singer has had to endure an agonising a two-and-a-half hour wait for an ambulance after falling and breaking an arm on Windsor Terrace, Penarth.
The casualty was Penarth resident Mrs Carol Bailey, a retired opera singer better known to her fans under her stage name of Carol Barlow-Davies. Mrs Bailey sang with the Welsh National Opera for 9 years and with the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam for 25 years. She was married in St Augustine’s Church Penarth last summer.
Mrs Bailey had been walking home on Tuesday this week when she slipped and fell on the uneven pavement opposite Mint and Mustard in Windsor Terrace – severely bruising her hip and leg and breaking her arm.
An ambulance was called as soon as the accident happened . Two “first responders” Nia Hood and Estell Mitchell kept Mrs Bailey supplied with towels, a hot water bottle and a rug to keep her warm in freezing temperatures whilst she waited … and waited.
Eventually – an hour later – a paramedic turned up from South Wales Fire and Rescue in Cardiff – and helped relieve Miss Bailey’s considerable pain with gas and air mixture but didn’t want to take her to the nearest Emergency Unit [at the Heath Hospital] on his own because of the risk of further injury.
It was a full two and a half hours after the first call when the long-awaited ambulance finally did arrive. The crew apologised to Mrs Bailey and said the delay had been caused by difficulties “off loading other passengers”.
Mrs Bailey says “My partner could have taken me to an emergency room within 30 minutes of the fall but the ambulance told us they were on their way.’”. She said “ It was absolutely freezing and the pain was unbearable”.
Whilst she waited – sitting on the pavement in agony – there had been further phone calls to the NHS to little avail. Mrs Bailey says “We phoned again – and again – to enquire about the estimated time of arrival” but were assured every time the ambulance was en route .
It’s just seven months since the Welsh Labour Government and its Deputy Minister for Health – Penarth resident Vaughan Gething – dropped target response times for ambulances in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar, says: “Wales has amongst the worst response times in Britain ” . “It is Labour’s mismanagement of our NHS that’s led to this shameful failure in performance “
Meanwhile the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council’s management of pavements and street infrastructure is also coming under scrutiny .
Windsor Terrace casualty Mrs Bailey says a local resident Steven Garret (45), who lives nearby, has confirmed that several members of the public have suffered falls outside his home in the past month. One victim was Mr Garret’s own wife Sue – who suffered a broken wrist.
Mr Garret has now directly contacted the Vale of Glamorgan Council to lodge an official complaint. Despite the spate of injuries at the same spot however, the council is said to have claimed that the pavement “meets requirements of protocol” and proposes to take no further action.
Former opera-star Carol Bailey was discharged on Wednesday after spending the night in hospital. She says “I had broken my arm and had severe bruising on my hip and leg. The pain is bearable but the shock of the whole ordeal is only just wearing off.’
Mrs Bailey says “The ambulance service is shocking. Waiting for two-and-a-half hours is simply unacceptable.”
UPDATE: South Wales Fire and Rescue crew from Penarth Fire Station rendered first aid to another pavement casualty late this afternoon when an elderly man collapsed and fell face-down near the fire station just before 17:00 hours.