An elderly Rotorua woman had to lie on the road at Rotorua's City Focus for almost 30 minutes because there was no ambulance available to pick her up.
Bystanders who went to the woman's aid were angry it took so long for an ambulance to arrive but Rotorua St John staff say both their ambulances were at other jobs at the time.
The injured woman, believed to be 82, was walking across the pedestrian section of the road at the south-east corner of the City Focus about 11.50am yesterday when she tripped and fell, twisting her knee. An ambulance did not arrive until 12.15pm after several calls had been made for one.
Rotorua St John Ambulance staff had two other emergency calls around the same time and the elderly woman's injuries were not life-threatening.
City Focus manager Dennis Oliver said one of his staff called emergency services and was told ambulance officers were tied up at other emergencies but would be there as soon as possible.
Mr Oliver did not want to move the woman because she appeared to be in pain. She was conscious and was covered with a blanket and made as comfortable as possible.
City Focus staff put out cones to stop traffic turning left into Tutanekai St from Hinemoa St. Traffic was diverted for about 30 minutes.
The Daily Post contacted the ambulance service after bystanders said they had been waiting for half an hour for an ambulance. We were told by staff at the ambulance service central control room they were aware of the situation but were tied up taking someone who had stopped breathing to Rotorua Hospital.
The person on the phone said an ambulance would be there as soon as possible and asked if the woman was breathing.
A bystander who stopped to help said the injured woman was distressed, in pain and cold.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said she was concerned about how long it took for an ambulance to arrive.
"It was too long ... I really think it's poor service."
She said ambulance officers apologised for the delay when they arrived.
Rotorua St John Ambulance area manager Gary Timms said he did not know how long it took Rotorua ambulance officers to respond as calls went through a central control room.
He explained ambulance officers were not called until they become free from any other incident they were attending.
He said the call was one of three the local ambulance service received around the same time and the city's two ambulances were tied up at the other two jobs. Although the elderly woman, who was taken to Rotorua Hospital, was not comfortable, her injuries were not life threatening.
Mr Timms said he did not think Rotorua needed more ambulances.
"It was just one of those things. Three jobs came up around the same time more or less."
Police were called when the ambulance did not arrive but Senior Constable Rob Ball, who was at the scene, would not comment except to confirm the woman fell, twisted her knee and was in pain.
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