AN angry mum has blasted 999 chiefs after her six-year-old daughter had to wait for nearly three hours for an ambulance after she fell from a bouncy castle.
Kiera O’Brien was left screaming in pain after the accident at a family birthday party at the Holy Rosary church in Arbroath Road, Sunderland, on Sunday.
Mum Karen Robinson was too scared to move the youngster, fearing she may cause permanent damage to her spine.
The frantic family called 999 but an ambulance didn’t arrive for nearly three hours.
Ambulance bosses today apologised for the delay, which they said was due to a “high volume” of emergency calls on the day.
Miss Robinson, from Telford Road in Sunderland, said: “We were at my cousin’s son’s eighth birthday party.
“There was a bouncy castle and Kiera does love to go wild on them. She jumped quite high and fell off, missing the mats and hitting the floor.
“She landed straight on her back and she was screaming in agony.
“We didn’t want to move her as we were worried it might do more damage. It was absolutely terrifying, I felt helpless.
“You can tell the difference between the noise your child makes when they have a scrape or tumble and when they are really hurt.
“She fell at about 2.15pm and we called the ambulance straight away.
“We called about five times. The hospital is only about 10 minutes away so we expected an ambulance to turn up pretty soon.
“The rapid response ambulance turned up at about 5pm and another ambulance came at about 5.15pm.”
Kiera wasn’t badly injured, but did suffer bruising and is still aching from her ordeal. She was checked over at Sunderland Royal Hospital for about an hour before being released.
Mum Karen, 38, says she is still not well enough to return to school at Hasting Hill Academy and said she was “disgusted” at the ambulance delay.
She added: “It is ridiculous that it took so long.
“Five different people called asking for updates on when the ambulance would arrive.
“I think it is absolutely disgusting for a six-year-old girl to be left lying on a cold, hard floor for three hours.
“They said they had other priority call-outs, such as heart attacks, but we felt like we were being fobbed off.
“I don’t blame the paramedics, they were brilliant when they arrived. It has to be to do with cuts in the service.
“Luckily, she didn’t have a broken back.
“She was very frightened and in a lot of pain while waiting for the ambulance.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that on this occasion we did not reach the patient as quickly as we would normally have liked.
“Unfortunately, no ambulance crews were immediately available due to a high volume of emergency 999 calls.
“The first call came in at 2.16pm, and our Rapid Response paramedic arrived at 4.56pm, followed by an ambulance.”