Ambulance service apologises to Westgate nan left lying in road for three-and-a-half hours

Tracy was unable to move and lay on the ground from 7.15pm to 10.40pm until an ambulance arrived

South East Coast Ambulance service [Secamb] has apologised after a woman who landed in the road after overturning her mobility scooter remained laying there for three and a half hours until an ambulance arrived.

Tracy Mulhall, 56, was unable to get up and remained lying on the floor, covered by a blanket from her friend Helen Preston, until paramedics arrived.

The incident happened at around 7.15pm on Monday [December 11] in Elm Grove, Westgate.

Helen, from St Peter’s, said: “She has COPD, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. I had a heated blanket and power pack and that [was] covering her. It’s ridiculous and totally unacceptable for someone to be laying in the road that long, especially with her disabilities. The evening was getting icier and luckily I had the heated blanket and power pack in my scooter.”

Nan-of-four Tracy was attended to by paramedics at 10.40pm and arrived at QEQM Hospital shortly before midnight. She was discharged at 8am the following day but says she is still “extremely sore.”

Tracy, who lives in Westgate with husband Geoff, said: “I was so shocked to be stuck on the ground for nearly four hours but I do not blame the drivers, I blame the system. There is just not enough [paramedics].

“But to be stuck there for [almost] four hours, I’ve seen my husband shout once in 27 years but that night he was getting really cross. I don’t know what was going on but at one point we were put through to somewhere up north. I honestly believe I would have been there longer had my husband not managed to get an upgrade on that last call.

“I had crashed into a tree stump that was at an angle so as I hit it, I was flipped up and over.”

Tracey says the local authority needs to deal with the tree stump.

Friend Helen kept Tracy company and Westgate residents also turned out to help

Tracy suffered some damage at the base of her spine and says this was aggravated by laying for so long half on the kerb, she suffered severe bruising to her ankle where the mobility scooter landed on it and says her backside is ‘black and blue.’

She added: “With my disability my hips pop out so I had to spend all that time with my leg bent so my hip didn’t pop out.”

Despite the traumatic evening, Tracy says she wants to say a huge thank you to “the angels of Westgate” who assisted her.

She said: “I was given blankets and coats and a towel for under my head.

“Two young men who went passed when I crashed stopped and you could not ask for nicer people.

“The first responder Richard stayed with me throughout and a lady called Sue brought out coffee and a couple of kids also stopped. The best of Westgate came out that night and I want to say a big thank you to everyone.”

‘Very sorry’

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), spokesperson said: “We take all concerns raised seriously and we are very sorry we took longer than we should to respond to this call and for the distress this will have undoubtedly caused.

“At the time the call was received, at approximately 7.15pm, we had been facing a sustained period of significantly high demand on our service. The call was triaged as a Category 3 call to which we aim to respond within two hours.

“We work hard to respond to all calls as quickly as possible, while prioritising life-threatening calls. Our response to the incident was later upgraded and an ambulance arrived at the scene at approximately 10.40pm.”

“We would invite the patient or her family to contact us directly if they would like to discuss their concerns in more detail.”


County Councillor Karen Constantine said: “I’m staggered and upset for Tracy, no one should be left to wait and suffer that long.

“I have asked for a report from SECAMB to be presented at the HOSC and whilst this was unpleasant and unacceptable, I hope it’s a one – off. SECAMB must do better than this and they are going to have to account for their failure to attend more promptly. If other Thanet residents experience similar I’m happy to hear from them at [email protected]


  1. Apologise all you like, but if it was one on their family members lying there it wouldn’t that that long, also, how long did the person have to wait on a hospital trolley in the corridor before being attended to, that has not been mentioned, or were they attended to straight away, out of guilt.

  2. When we think things can’t get any worse then they get even more worse, I helped a man who had fallen in the car park yes the car park of QEQM hospital a few weeks ago the hospital could not send anyone out to help but said phone 999 it took the ambulance 2 hours and 20 minutes to arrive they had been sent from ASHFORD? When they did arrive it took them 45 minutes to check the patient he was later admitted to the hospital with injuries. Absolutely disgusting of the so called emergency service now this poor lady left laying in the road. It’s beyond disgusting. Those responsible should be sacked.

  3. She wouldn’t have been left in the road for 3 & half hours if it was busier and she was stopping traffic moving. Yet another case of cars before people!

    • I can only wonder . . .

      If it was the case that she was a ”Just Stop Oil” protester, would she have been removed any sooner ? (Other protest groups that lay in the road are available).

  4. When I overturned my mobility scooter in Vicasage Road, St Peters a car stopped5 within five and luckily the two occupants worked at a local care home and knew how to assist me to get up and remount my scooter. I am a fairly big geyser so their training was useful. I did joke with them that down here in Thabet people usually help. When we lived in. London they would probably have rifled my pockets and nicked my mobile phone! Only thing was, why did the locals not assist in getting her up and back on her vehicle? Separately, the roads ostensibly should be looked after by KCC but they are not with all the monies being spent in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells! Kick the blighters out!

    • Because, as the article says, when she falls her hip can pop out of the socket. Picking her up could’ve killed her.

    • I overturned my mobility scooter a few weeks ago, due to a sunken drain cover! I was forced to reverse due to a truck backing up in the road, and the inside rear wheel went down a drain cover, and I ended up with my machine on top of me! The driver and his mate managed to get me up and running, but when I complained to KCC Highways, they said they checked it, and the drain cover was within their limits, and no action was taken, Duuurh!

  5. scandalous , words fail me . i wonder if these poor people will be voting tory ? perhaps they need to move some of the ambulances that sit down ramsgate sea front and around the harbour ?

  6. Keith, it would not be a good idea to help people who have fallen unless it’s absolutely certain no injuries have been caused, the man I helped was diagnosed with shoulder / head and leg injuries he was kept in hospital for 10 days.

  7. If they didn’t waste time picking up the foul-mouthed drunks outside the library and other locations then more crews would be available. If you’re paid £700 a month by the taxpayer to drink yourself silly as a registered alcoholic…. then get on with it.

    • 40 years ago, the police would’ve picked up drunks and thrown them in a cell overnight to sober up. The good ol’ days.

  8. How about regulating and testing these mobility scooters, cut the speed down to 4 miles an hour and test for tipping over. Have seen alot of them over loaded with bags, shopping, walk sticks hanging out. Sometimes it’s the user at fault, not saying the lady was but something does needed to be looked at but safety first. There was one old boy riding in the middle of the road in millmead rd at 4pm in the afternoon, dark, no lights and causing traffic problems giving the finger to all who passed. Training should be given to see if they are fit enough to use.

    • Campaigners have been trying for some time, quite rightly in my opinion, to make it mandatory for mobility scooter users to do a capability test. It’s ridiculous that someone who has never even driven a car can be put in charge of such a machine (fortunately my own disabled mother has more sense than to attempt to use one). IOTNs’ local disability campaigner Christine Tongue refuses to even discuss such a thing though… perhaps Kathy can ask her to write an article telling us why she’s so against the idea???

      • Bigger problems are these e-scooter things with teenagers & overgrown kids in their twenties & early thirties-you cannot hear them until they are whizzing past you, none of them have bells on & the people on them are overwhelmingly idiotic boy racers.

        • The difference is, these e-scooters are illegal (and of course the police should try harder to stop them). A few years back, I knew an old man with mild dementia – he bought a disability scooter, no questions asked, and used to ride it on the wrong side of the road!

          • I believe some are legal & others aren’t. They should all be fitted with something that notifies you when they are getting near & not only being able to hear them when they are a foot from your jacksie & then you feel the wind tunnel effect as it whooshes past just inches away.

  9. So from reading some of the comments left people think it was acceptable to be left laying half on the road for 3 and half hours due to someone coming off their disablity scooter!!! Lets set the record staight …. Tracy has been a disability scooter user for 14 YEARS and this is her FIRST accident. Our scooters do 4 mph on pavements and 8 mph on roads, they come with switches to regulate this. We are insured, have wingmirrors,headlights and indicators. Also our scooters are checked/serviced yearly.
    I have held a full driving licence since 18/03/1982 and when,due to my disabilities, I got a scooter the company I got it from took me out on a “driving test” not just “handed over”.
    Tracys accident was due to the base of a tree growing into the pavement and I invite ANYONE to walk down Elm Grove in Westgate, approaching from Domneva Road, after dark (which is around 5pm currently) and see for themselves that there is NO lighting around the tree,and therefore, a hazard. Lights on our scooters are NOT like headlights on cars, and only give a certain amount of light.
    This article is to show the amount of time it took for an ambulance to attend. And,as a footnote, I will also add, I phoned the Kent Police to ask for assistance,ie reflective cones, as Tracy was lying half in the road and people were putting themselves in danger by being in the road to protect her … I was told the police did not deal with such matters!!!!! DISGUSTING … LET DOWN BY THE (SUPPOSED) EMERGENCY SERVICES ALL ROUND

    • I wish Tracy a full and speedy recovery.

      The emergency services with the exception of the ‘Fire & Rescue’ service are a disgrace. Politics are to blame, however, be they blue, red or green makes no difference. Open your eyes and look at what was once a hidden agenda making strides not just across the nation but globally.

    • If there was no ambulance and paramedic crew available (because they were attending life-threatening events or stuck at a hospital), then what can be done?
      If you’re looking for someone to blame, try the government.

  10. Yesterday a builder parked his van over the dropped kerb at a traffic island in Margate Road, deliberately! This meant anyone on a mobility scooter had to ride in the road to the next dropped kerb, which as many mobility scooter riders will tell you, is very dangerous, especially if like me they are visually impaired! I confronted the builder, and he denied it was his van, so I took down the registration number, and the make of van a white Citroen Relay Reg number YR69 CMU. I reported this to the police, because this was a deliberate act of anti-social behaviour, but I won’t be holding my breath!

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