‘Appalling’ 999 wait leaves Rocks player in agony

Crane was injured when he fell awkwardly during Bognor's 2-2 draw
Crane was injured when he fell awkwardly during Bognor's 2-2 draw

Bognor football fans have criticised the delay after a player waited in agony with a dislocated shoulder for 90 minutes for an ambulance that never arrived.

Rocks bosses have pledged to hold talks with the emergency services regarding the incident involving James Crane during the match at Nyewood Lane on Saturday.The defender ended up being helped into a car and driven to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, by his father after the club called ‘some six times over the course of an hour and a half’ and were told no ambulance was available.

Rocks secretary Simon Cook said: “Although the club fully understands the pressures the emergency services have to work under, we will be raising the issue of the lack of response from the ambulance service.

“It is sad to see any player receiving a serious injury, but James having been such a magnificent servant of the club over the past nine years or so makes it even harder.

“He has now played over 400 matches for the Rocks and of course has scored some memorable and vital goals for us. I am sure that every Rocks fan wishes him a speedy recovery.”

Mr Cook added that Mr Crane, whose shoulder is now in a sling, has been advised he won’t be able to play for six to eight weeks.

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said the service was ‘extremely sorry for the delay’ and it welcomed anyone with concerns to get in touch so a full investigation can be carried out.

They added: “We have a duty to prioritise immediately life-threatening calls, and while we are working hard to improve response times across our region, there are times when demand for our services means we are unable to reach some patients as quickly as we would like. Calls which have been categorised as non-life threatening can have ambulances assigned to them which are then stood down en route to attend more serious calls.”

Bognor fans criticised the delay in the ambulance turning up. Dave Robinson, of the Rocks supporters’ club, said: “While I appreciate the fantastic job they do the attendance time was appalling.”