‘Appalling’ motorists block ambulance attending life-threatening emergency at Sussex care home

Cedarwood Care Home, Hastings Road near Battle
Cedarwood Care Home, Hastings Road near Battle

Paramedics called to assist a critically-ill 90-year-old man – who later died – were unable to leave for approximately three hours as ‘verbally abusive’ motorists blocked them in.

An ambulance was called to attend Cedarwood House, in Hastings Road, near Battle, at 5pm on Wednesday (February 13), a spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) confirmed.

SECAmb said its paramedics were attending a ‘serious life-threatening Cat 1 emergency’ relating to a 90-year-old patient at the care home.

On arrival, SECAmb said, paramedics made ‘every effort’ to park responsibly but due to limited parking spaces, the road was blocked while the patient was attended to.

During this time, people became ‘verbally aggressive’ with the paramedics and moved their cars to in order to block the ambulances leaving.

Ty Almaz, the chief executive of Cedarwood House, described the behaviour as ‘incomprehensible’.

He said: “The paramedics did get to treat the patient who unfortunately passed away.

“However, they pulled up outside, blocked the road and were not allowed to leave for three hours. The people took exception to the ambulance blocking the road and, while the paramedics were inside the care home, they blocked it in.

“They said ‘we do not appreciate you blocking the road’ and told them to be more considerate about their parking.

“They seemed concerned that they couldn’t come and go freely for ten to 15 minutes. It just goes to show that they then used up three hours of their life blocking the crew in.

“They became verbally abusive towards them (the paramedics) and the police had to be called to defuse the situation. It is incomprehensible and appalling.”

Mr Almaz said this was not an isolated incident and people have previously been verbally abusive about parking in the single track road.

He added: “We have had other incidents but never as serious as this. There have been a number of incidents where people have not appreciated what they (the emergency services) are trying to do.

“I think the emergency services – whether it fire, ambulance or police – the way they are dealt with by a small minority is appalling.

“We are just sick of them and stunned by their behaviour.”

In response to the incident, a spokesman for SECAmb urged motorists to be patient while they dealt with incidents.

The spokesman said: “We were called to attend a serious life-threatening Cat 1 emergency in Battle at 5pm on Wednesday, 13 February. While every effort was undertaken to park responsibly, there were limited places to park and the road was very narrow.

“Unfortunately, this meant that during the time our clinicians were attending the patient, the road was blocked. A member of staff, on returning to the vehicle during the course of the emergency to get equipment, was challenged by a motorist who became verbally aggressive and the matter was reported to the police.

“While every effort is undertaken to reduce the impact of our ambulances on other road users, there are occasions when we may be required to block access. We would urge motorists to be patient while we attend to patients.”

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