Injured footballer’s 75-minute wait for help at Holloway pitch

11:01 20 September 2012

FC Tornados team photo taken before the game. Jamie Lilywhite is back right and Roy Barker is third from back left. Photo by Dieter Perry

FC Tornados team photo taken before the game. Jamie Lilywhite is back right and Roy Barker is third from back left. Photo by Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Paramedics took more than an hour to reach a footballer with a neck injury – even though he was lying on a pitch beside an ambulance base.

Jamie Lilywhite, 32, sustained the injury after going for a header and falling awkwardly during an Islington Midweek League match at Market Road Football Pitches in Holloway last Thursday.

The game was immediately abandoned, with the player unable to move from the field, and the emergency services were promptly called at 8.41pm.

But despite having a base minutes away in Brewery Road, which runs parallel to Market Road behind the pitches, a London Ambulance Service (LAS) car only arrived at 9.46pm.

Roy Barker, secretary of Mr Lilywhite’s team FC Tornados, said: “I dread to think what the condition of the player would have been if that was a January fixture and zero degrees.

“Our player lay prostrate, with a neck injury, unable to move and starting to shiver for an hour and 15 minutes from the point of the ambulance being called.

“Initially an ambulance car, which was unable to move or take away the injured person, arrived after an hour, followed by the proper ambulance.”

Mr Lilywhite was treated at the scene and then taken to the Whittington Hospital, before being released at 4am.

Lenny Hagland, joint manager for opposition team Islington Admiral United, said: “Because it was a spinal injury, no-one could move him. Everyone was very concerned for his welfare, but there was nothing we could do.

“He was just lying there motionless. I don’t know why they took so long – it would have been quicker to walk round there. It’s disgusting.”

An LAS spokesman said the call was treated as an emergency, which they would aim to respond to within 30 minutes.

He apologised for the hold-up, saying: “Unfortunately we were unable to respond as quickly as we would have liked.

“A member of staff in a response car arrived at the scene at 9.46pm, followed by an ambulance crew at 9.50pm.

“We would like to apologise for this delay in responding. If the patient or his family would like more information on what happened, we would invite them to contact our patient experiences department.”


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