Bruised pensioner wrapped in blankets as she waits more than an hour for ambulance

An 83-year-old woman who took a tumble in Swiss Cottage was left stranded on the freezing pavement for more than an hour as she waited for an ambulance.

The pensioner had been shopping with her daughter when she fell to the ground in Finchley Road.

Shopkeepers rallied together to keep her warm, with one hardware shop setting up a heater and wrapping her in blankets as the bruised pensioner waited an hour and eight minutes on the icy paving slabs for the ambulance to arrive.

The elderly woman, who broke bones in her face, said: “My bottom was freezing from sitting on the floor and my face was killing me.”

Her daughter, who did not want to be named, had called the ambulance at 1.09pm on Tuesday, but it took until 2.17pm for the ambulance crew to arrive and take the pensioner to the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead.

“It’s disgusting and she has a heart condition,” her daughter said. “I called the ambulance eight times and they just kept telling me it was not available. It’s unbelievable that it should take so long.”

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said: “We are sorry for the delay in reaching the patient and for any further distress this may have caused her.”

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Jyoti Julka, who owns hardware shop SAI 108, in Harben Parade, with her husband Sanjay, said: “We got her a heater and some pillows and blankets too.

“It’s not nice at all. It was freezing out there and the ambulance took forever.

“We stood out there for a couple of minutes to see if there was anything else she needed, but it was just ice cold.”

After about an hour staff from Marks & Spencer found a wheelchair for the woman and offered her shelter until the ambulance arrived minutes later.

As the Ham&High went to press the 83-year-old was still in hospital being treated for her facial injuries.