Cornwall: Family builds makeshift shelter as man, 87, with cracked pelvis waits 15 hours for ambulance

‘It was traumatising,’ says daughter who used a football goal, umbrellas and a tarpaulin to keep her father dry

Matt Mathers
Friday 19 August 2022 00:24 BST
<p>The man’s family were forced to build a shelter to protect him from the rain </p>

The man’s family were forced to build a shelter to protect him from the rain

An 87-year-old who suffered a fall outdoors was forced to wait so long for an ambulance that his family built a makeshift shelter around him.

Great-grandfather David Wakeley suffered several broken bones including a cracked pelvis when he fell in the grounds of his home in mid-Cornwall at 7.30pm on Monday.

His son-in-law Trevor told BBC Radio Cornwall: “He was walking to the garage when he tripped and fell over.”

His daughter Karen told the station she had used a children’s football goal, umbrellas and a tarpaulin to keep him dry.

The pair called 999 at 7.30pm on Monday – but an ambulance didn’t arrive at the house in St Columb Road, near Newquay, until 11.30am on Tuesday.

Have you experienced similar long waits? If so email

They said they called four or five times through the night, and were assured paramedics would be with them “soon”.

The family said operators told them not to move the injured man in case doing so made his injuries worse, which is why they built the shelter.

It comes amid reports of lengthy waiting times for treatment in Cornwall, with patients saying they have waited outside the county’s only major hospital – the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) in Treliske, Truro – for hours and even days.

The injured man, David, is now recovering at the RCH. His family tweeted a picture of the makeshift shelter.

Trevor said: “He was walking to the garage when he tripped and fell over. That was 7.30pm on Monday. We dialled 999 but an ambulance didn’t arrive for over 15 hours.

“We kept ringing and they would say we will be with you soon. My wife was a nervous wreck. They kept telling us not to move him, so we borrowed a football goal from next door and used a tarpaulin. It was traumatising.”

A spokesperson for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s Integrated Care System said: “Like other parts of the country, our health and care system continues to experience pressure. The reasons for this are complex, including high demand for primary and secondary care, mental health services and adult social care.

“Our teams continue to work together to support people who need our care and we encourage people to use the most appropriate service – including your local pharmacy, minor injury units or 111 online – to keep our emergency departments and 999 service available for people with urgent and life-threatening needs.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in