An elderly woman protesting outside an A&E about its closure fell and broke her hip - and had to be taken 15 miles away to another one.
Joan Carpenter, 82, was at a rally about the closure of Chorley and South Ribble Hospital’s A&E department with four generations of her family.
But Joan tripped over and smashed her pelvis on the pavement causing breaks in two places and had to travel 15 miles in an ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital.
Mrs Carpenter, who is still in hospital recovering, received treatment from the fire service who were passing by - before waiting ten minutes for an ambulance.
But when she arrived in hospital she was playing “musical chairs” while waiting for a bed - another reason why her family believe their local A&E should still be available.
Joan’s Son David Carpenter, 58, of Chorley, said: “Well this just really sums up why we need an A&E department closer to us.
“We were in the right place I guess, but of course there’s no A&E department at Chorley now.
“Where we were protesting we could actually see the door to the hospital and could have carried her in there.”
After being taken by ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital, Joan had to wait in a children’s ward for hours until she was finally given a bed.
David, who is heavily involved in the campaign to reinstate Chorley’s A&E department, said: “Mum is getting really well looked after in Preston don’t get me wrong - but the bays are all full and the car park is always heaving.
“It was like musical chairs in there, we even had to wait in the Children’s Ward.
“I’m also annoyed that all the family have to keep going up to Preston to see her.
“It’s absurd that Chorley A&E has been shut - over the past 30 years my local A&E has provided a wonderful service.
He added: “It’s sewn me back up several times after I had a car crash.”
Speaking about the strain the closure brings to the health service in Chorley, David said: “The ambulances now are having to travel further and are out of service for longer.
“The ambulance staff who helped mum didn’t have NHS logos on - so it was definitely a private ambulance.
“They cost £80K a month extra for the two private ambulances in Chorley - so we would be better off with the A&E department.
“The trip is so much longer to Preston - and I heard rumours that they are getting rid of the Chorley, Preston and Blackburn hospitals altogether and are going to build a super hospital somewhere in the middle.
“The Chorley A&E closure is just the tip of the Iceberg - we need to do something to stop this.”
Speaking about her injuries, retired secretary Joan said: “Everyone is fussing over me - but I’m more annoyed that I went and fell over.
“To be honest, I’m even more frustrated that I’m in Preston and not nearer my family in Chorley - but what can you do?”
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Firstly we want to pass on our best wishes to Mrs Carpenter for a speedy recovery.
“North West Ambulance Service crews are specially trained to take patients to the most appropriate place, depending on the type of treatment needed.
“A fractured pelvis is considered to be a major trauma and all trauma patients are treated at Royal Preston Hospital, as that is the regional Major Trauma Centre. All trauma patients from across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been treated at Royal Preston Hospital since 2013, when it was named as the Major Trauma Centre.
“Major trauma services were reorganised nationally a few years ago, and evidence from that new way of working tells us that it is better for people to be treated at a designated, specialist unit, even if that is slightly further away from their home.
“The emergency department at Chorley has been temporarily downgraded to an urgent care centre, which is open from 8am to 8pm and can treat a wide range of conditions such as minor chest and back injuries, burns and scalds and minor fractures. The majority of people who previously attended the emergency department at Chorley have conditions that can be treated safely and appropriately by an urgent care service.”