Barnsley: Grandma dies after nurses don’t answer her call

Grandma died in agony

Callers ignored calls for help from Dolly ‘Rose’ Belk, 93 (Image: Included)

A granny died in agony after falling to the ground when caregivers wouldn’t answer her calls.

Rose Belk, 93, also known as Dolly, from near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was put through to a call center operated by her local council after activating the emergency button on her lanyard.

In the agonizing two-minute call, the 93-year-old can be heard moaning in pain and pleading “help me.”

A call handler answers the phone in a noisy office and asks the retiree to speak up before hanging up because she doesn’t understand what she’s saying.

The call handler failed to call an ambulance for Dolly and she remained lying on the floor of her home until later that day when her son Andy, 64, visited her.

She was then taken to the hospital by ambulance, but died in the afternoon from complications from a fall and a heart attack.

Andy has now received an apology from local council and £1,000 in damages after taking Barnsley Council to court, MailOnline reports.

While alive, Dolly had started paying £13 a month for home call service in 2010 after her husband Clive fell ill with dementia.

Grandma died in agony

The service she signed up for promised a 24-hour hotline (Picture: Included)

It promised a “24-hour, 365-day-a-year surveillance and emergency service.”

“It gave her peace of mind,” her son said. ‘She would say, ‘Don’t worry if something happens to me, if I can’t reach you, I can press the red button.’

A transcript of Dolly’s conversation with the courtroom call handler shows that she was let down by the service.

Assistant District Judge Christopher Birkby endorsed the final settlement in Barnsley County Court, saying: “From what I have heard, Ms Belk appears to have suffered. Barnsley Council admitted the service was not what it could have been.

Outside the court, Mr Belk said: “It was never about the money, it was about getting justice for my mother and getting an apology from the council.

“It was a shabby service. The operator should have called me and an ambulance when she realized my mother couldn’t speak. My mother would have waited for help after pressing her red button.

“Lying on the floor in agony in the last hours of her life was a terrible thing for her.”

Jenny Platts, Cabinet spokeswoman for Adult Health and Welfare at Barnsley Council, said: “We accept full responsibility for the settlement ruling and regret that the service failed to act on the warning following Ms Belk’s fall.

“We have learned lessons, reviewed our processes and taken actions including refreshed training and changing processes to allow operators to do one last check with users before alerts are closed.”

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Justin Scacco

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