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To be so angry that my baby could have died and no emergency service could reach us

(80 Posts)
CountryMummy1 Thu 02-Jul-15 15:45:19

My 14 month old baby had a severe episode of croup a few nights ago, so bad that he went blue and floppy. We were at my parents house in Wales and had to phone the ambulance. It took them 2 hours to locate us as the road that leads to the house was not in their map. It was the worst 2 hours of my life. When they eventually found us (from asking at other houses) they discovered that they couldn't get the ambulance down our road so they had to run up.

DS was so bad that my husband had to drive him, me and the 2 ambulance men down the road back to the ambulance.

Obviously I can't risk this ever happening again as my parents are now elderly. Having phoned the council I have found out that it is classed as an unadopted footpath?? Surely this can't be right if it is the only vehicle access to the property. What on earth do i do now?

lljkk Thu 02-Jul-15 15:50:50

Would your parents consider moving somewhere closer to hospitals and civilisation ?

The thing about ambulances is that they are mobile treatment units costing £400k and they can't be small vehicles and also be all that. Are there no emergency first responders in the area (they often have smaller cars)?

WhetherOrNot Thu 02-Jul-15 15:51:43

Lots of people live up unadopted roads. If you don't want it to happen again then you don't go there again.

Or next time you drive to the hospital in your own car.

It must be pretty bad as I've seen ambulances get to almost impossible-to-get-to places. That's what they're built for.

Drquin Thu 02-Jul-15 15:52:44

Sorry to hear about DS, hope he's better.

Got the unadopted road - contact local council and get the exact story from them and how to go about changing it. For a rural property, it's not entirely unreasonable it is unadopted and no-ones noticed until a time of crisis. Contact local ambulance trust too though - they ought to be interested, how much of the 2 hours was them not knowing where to go and how much is just because you're generally quite rural.

CountryMummy1 Thu 02-Jul-15 15:52:56

I don't think I'll get them to move now unfortunately as they are very stuck in their ways. This time we didn't know an ambulance couldn't get up but would warn the 999 dispatcher next time so maybe they could send a car. However, the fact that the road/footpath is not on the system and the postcode takes them elsewhere is a worry and I think I need to resolve it in some way for them

CountryMummy1 Thu 02-Jul-15 15:54:36

The nearest hospital is 1.5 hours away and we were too scared to drive there with DS in case he stopped breathing on the way. Had we known it would take 2 hours we would have had to have risked it. But if anything happened to a parent I doubt the other one would be in a fit state to drive them

PerspicaciaTick Thu 02-Jul-15 15:54:50

Perhaps it's time for your parents to think about moving if they are elderly? There is a lot to be said for being able to access local amenities and services easily, especially if driving becomes more tricky as they get older.

DonkeyOaty Thu 02-Jul-15 15:55:08

Oh crikey how scary!

Your parents will I think need to speak to the council about adopting the road.

Goshthatsspicy Thu 02-Jul-15 15:55:12

What about an air ambulance?
We are rural too.
So sorry for your experience.

Drquin Thu 02-Jul-15 15:55:25

To clarify last point - some of the 2 hour response time is reasonable because ambulances can't be everywhere at once, and will take time to reach the more rural areas. But some of time is because they couldn't find the road - is that because you've not adopted it, a mapping problem or a council problem?

CountryMummy1 Thu 02-Jul-15 15:55:58

Should the council 'adopt' it so to speak? And should it be classed as a road rather than a footpath as it leads to properties?

CountryMummy1 Thu 02-Jul-15 15:57:34

We didn't know it was only classed as a footpath seeing as we can drive down it and we didn't know it was 'unadopted'. Can we adopt it even if it is a public footpath?

PerspicaciaTick Thu 02-Jul-15 15:58:03

Sorry - x-post.

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 02-Jul-15 15:58:19

that is why they have the 'Air Ambulance'.

I do know of someone in Wales who was told her child was 'at risk' because they lived up a long track in the middle of nowhere....

timeforacheckup Thu 02-Jul-15 15:59:30

My parents live in rural mid-Wales and this is something that really worries me as they get older. Although they are on a classified road it still takes ages for an ambulance to get to them purely due to them being so far away from anywhere. I wish they'd move somewhere nearer a hospital but they won't shift.

CptJack Thu 02-Jul-15 16:00:20

Why didn't the crew phone you to ask for more directions? Or if they couldn't get a signal radio control and ask them to phone?

The Welsh ambulance service is dire. Not enough vehicles to cover vast areas of countryside. On many occasions when I have had to dial 999 for clients, for example, with chest pain, they've taken longer than 10 mins to answer the initial call!

I wonder if a prescription fee was payable in Wales, they might be to fund some extra vehicles.

Becca19962014 Thu 02-Jul-15 16:00:29

I live in a rural part of Wales and the ambulances can come from very far away. The last time I needed one it took a long time to get to me - the person who rang despite giving the postcode and details was rung back and asked for distinguishing features as they had driven past several times and didn't know where we were - the problem is there are four houses with the same number in my road (very very long road with several terraces all numbered shock )

Do contact the Welsh ambulance trust about it, in my case the dispatcher had just put into the computer number x Beccas road and not the postcode so they didn't have a clue where I was as there were so many. They're really good at checking things like this - as someone upthread said they only find out about unregistered/private roads when there is an incident so contact them and let them know what you have put here - there are a lot of such roads in my county I'm sure as it is very rural in places.

PerspicaciaTick Thu 02-Jul-15 16:01:44

We have some unadopted roads on our local estate. The LA won't commit to the expense of maintaining them - as once they adopt the road it becomes their responsibility. It means that the cost of road maintenance is borne by the residents.

I think that most LAs will resist adopting roads if they can, and the fact that it isn't a road at all will complicate things further. But the first thing to do is talk to their council.

thatsshallot Thu 02-Jul-15 16:02:33

We live in London and ds was blue and floppy at 6 weeks old due to RSV and bronchiolitis. We had had massive snowfall the day before and the ambulance couldn't get near either, I ended up finding a 4x4 minicab that could take us to hospital. Even now I panic when it snows.

Point is there may always be circa wherever you live that cause a delay, so yes whilst ambukance do need to work out what went wrong now you know it can be tricky it would be worth coming up with a back up plan.

Hope lo better soon

Bilberry Thu 02-Jul-15 16:02:50

The other group it would be worth trying in an emergency would be mountain rescue (phone 999 and ask for them). They often have four wheel drive vehicles that are classified as ambulances and would probably be what you need if one of your parents needed a rapid hospital transfer. The only problem is they are volunteers who need to be called out and their base could be further away so would still take time.

zzzzz Thu 02-Jul-15 16:03:27

Who owns the road?

Bramshott Thu 02-Jul-15 16:03:48

Poor you OP - that must have been very scary!

However, being angry isn't going to help. What I guess you need to do is contact the council and query the exact status of the road/path/track to your parents properties. Explain what happened with the ambulance and that you're worried because your parents are elderly.

FWIW there are several tracks near me which are BOATs (Byways open to all traffic), some of which lead to houses. Others are unadopted or private roads.

lljkk Thu 02-Jul-15 16:06:04

Could a large sign be placed at the bottom of the footpath/unadopted track to say their address is up the road? At least in future an emergency response vehicle could see that sign and get up there faster rather than drive around in confusion. Also, now at least your folks know that if they ring emergency services, they must explain about looking for the sign to their home which is nearest to postcode XXXXXXX. They might want to post a note with this alternative nearest postcode right next to their landline & tape it to back of their mobiles for extra assurance.

The ambulance service response time targets may have been destroyed for the month by this incident.

I hope your son recovers well.

LurkingHusband Thu 02-Jul-15 16:06:42

Pin a card with the cottages Lat/Long by the phone ?

TTWK Thu 02-Jul-15 16:06:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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