Local MSP’s anger over OAP ice fall agony

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An MSP is demanding answers after an injured elderly man was left lying on a frozen road for THREE hours waiting for an ambulance which failed to turn up.

Strathkelvin and Bearsden SNP MSP Rona Mackay rushed to assist the 87-year-old after he slipped on untreated ice during the recent big freeze

When the emergency services didn’t appear, a local doctor had to step in to take the OAP to hospital

Now a furious Ms Mackay has written to the chief executives of both East Dunbartonshire Council and the NHS.

She has echoed calls from her 
constituents for more action on gritting pavements in East Dunbartonshire.

Ms Mackay has written to Thomas Glen, chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, on the problems with gritting and the chief executive of NHS Scotland on the ambulance incident.

She said: “I have been 
inundated from all angles with constituents who are rightly outraged about the lack of gritting on roads, pavements and surfaces in East Dunbartonshire.

“Elderly people have bared the brunt of this, whether that is causing them to slip and fall or be trapped inside – all of which is totally avoidable.

“Children in schools have been slipping because the local authority cannot grit playgrounds, using excuses like the surface is ‘too wide’ to be salted.

“I assisted an 87-year-old man who fell on ice last week only to wait, lying on the freezing cold ground for three hours, for an ambulance that did not show up.

“Thankfully, a doctor was able to take him to hospital.

“Another incident saw an 81-year-old man slip on ice and wait more than seven hours with a fractured pelvis for an ambulance, called by the doctor, to come and take him to hospital.

“There is a lack of grit bins in public-owned spaces where there once was – and this is unacceptable given the number of accidents and complaints there are.

“I understand a balance has to be struck, where it is realistic and unrealistic for the council’s Roads Department to provide gritting services, but there needs to be more done to ensure the safety of residents.”

However, council boss Thomas Glen said on Thursday his teams had “worked tirelessly to keep roads 
and pavements as ice-free as possible.”

He added: “This was not an easy task as we have 510km of road and 817km of footway to cover and we had to respond to rapidly changing conditions.

“Last week’s weather conditions were particularly challenging and we used approximately 1200 tonnes of salt on carriageways, on footways and on refilling grit bins compared to 300 tonnes used during an average cold snap”

“In addition, we refilled over 400 community grit bins for residents to use.

“Included within the primary footways gritting routes is one safe route to each school and a member of the facilities management team will also grit parts of the playground to ensure safe access to and from the gates and entrances. The head teacher will then take the decision each day if they think it’s safe for children to play.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were experiencing an exceptionally high level of demand across the past week and we would like to apologise to any patients who waited longer than normal.

“Winter is an extremely busy time of year for the NHS and our staff are working tirelessly to ensure patients get the care and treatment they need. We are continuing to work closely with our health board partners.”