Newmarket Town footballer in three-hour ambulance wait

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Tweet by Newmarket Town FCImage source, Twitter

A non-league football club has criticised the ambulance service after an injured player waited for three hours for help to arrive.

Newmarket Town Striker Matt Hayden was in "agony" after a suspected leg break.

The FA Cup qualifier at Halstead in Essex on Saturday was in aid of two Newmarket players, one of whom had both legs amputated after a crash.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it had an "extremely high level of life-threatening calls".

An ambulance was called at 14:30 BST but did not arrive until just after 17:30.

A spokesman for the ambulance service apologised and said a clinician called during the delay to ensure the player's condition had not worsened.

Image source, Peter Stack / Geograph
Image caption,
The player was hurt at Halstead Town's ground
Image source, David Lee
Image caption,
The match raised money for Shaun Whiter, who lost his legs, and his friend Joey Abbs, who was seriously hurt in a crash

The service received more than 3,200 calls in total, with 1,000 in Essex alone, he added. The average daily call demand is about 2,600.

Club chairman John Olive, who praised the ambulance crew, said: "Three hours for the lad laying on the ground was an awful long time, he was in a lot of pain.

"The medical advice we had was not to move him.

"We rang several time to try and find out what was happening but could not find what the ETA was."

Both Newmarket and Halstead Town took to Twitter to criticise the delay, with Newmarket calling it "an absolute joke of a service".

On 1 August, an under-18 Newmarket player with a broken ankle waited one hour and 20 minutes for an ambulance, Mr Olive said.

Image source, Twitter

Hayden was treated at Colchester Hospital for severe ligament damage and said on Twitter on Sunday night that he was "lucky".

The game was called off and has been rescheduled for Tuesday.

Sunday's gate receipts, totalling more than £900, were donated to an appeal for Shaun Whiter, who had to have his legs amputated and Joey Abbs, who sustained a serious leg injury, when they were hit by a car while changing a tyre on 1 July.

He will be sentenced in September.