Horse rider and mountain bike cyclist taken to hospital after separate incidents on Cannock Chase

Wednesday 22nd July 2015 – 6.07pm – Murray MacGregor.

The wonderful scenery of Cannock Chase unfortunately became the scene of two incidents requiring ambulance attendance in quick succession on Wednesday afternoon.

The first one happened at about 2.20pm in the area not far from the rifle ranges after a 10 year old girl, came of her horse and had the animal land on her.

The youngster, who was with a number of other riders at the time was in an area with poor mobile phone coverage. Eventually, one of the other riders rode to the rifle range and escorted the ambulance to as close as it could get to the incident.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Due to the location, having to get an ambulance down a dirt track and the difficulties getting an exact location, it did take just over half an hour for the crew to get there.

“The girl was complaining of head and neck injuries and was immobilised using a neck collar and spinal board.

“The crew requested assistance and the paramedic area support officer (ASO) was sent to the scene in a 4×4 vehicle.

“Unfortunately, as he got to about three miles away from the location, he was flagged down by a mountain bike rider.

“The man was just about to dial 999 after the woman he was out riding with had come off her bike as they were riding on the Sherbrook Trail. She had suffered a broken right arm, facial injuries and gravel rash. The crews said, had she not been wearing a cycle helmet, her head injuries would have been more severe.

“As a result, an ambulance was dispatched to the second location. The woman who was in her 30s and from Telford had her arm splinted and was given pain relief before being taken to County Hospital in Stafford.

“As soon as the second crew arrived the ASO continued on to the first case.

“Together with the crew, the girl was carried down a grass track to the ambulance from where she was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.”



Cannock Chase 1 (22-07-15)Cannock Chase 2 (22-07-15)Cannock Chase 3 (22-07-15)


  1. In response to the Horse rider and mountain bike cyclist taken to hospital after seperate incidents on Cannock Chase;
    I don’t believe the article tells the true story!
    A 999 call by one of the horse riders as well as the girl’s mother was rung through to the call centre staff with instructions as to where the accident had taken place. The call centre staff hadn’t a clue about Cannock Chase and were quite rude to the horse rider who reported the accident.
    The Paramedic Area Support Officer (ASO) was deployed to unlock the barrier onto the Chase and I presume to attend the accident but luckily the girl’s father knew someone who could open the barrier. If it hadn’t been for him it would have taken 1 1/2 hours for the ambulance to arrive at the scene as the ASO diverted to another incident where a 999 call hadn’t been sent.
    The girl’s father and grandfather arrived at the Riffle Range car park within 10 to 15 minutes after travelling approx 5 miles, the teenage rider to escorted them, they were on foot, to the accident scene and then the father to walk back to the Riffle Range car park to meet the ambulance and the man who kindly opened the barrier. The father then escorted the ambulance to the scene (not walking this time). It took approx 1 hour for the ambulance to arrive at the scene.
    The 10 year old girl was knocked out for a short while and the horse had landed on her. Whilst I have every sympathy for the cyclist what if the girl had sustained internal injuries/bleeding? She would probably have died at the scene or later in hospital. Is this normal practice for a 999 vehicle to go to the assistance of someone who hasn’t even made a 999 call putting someone else’s life in danger?
    Even after the ambulance crew arrived and had examined the 10 year old girl they weren’t in any hurry to load her into the ambulance and take her to hospital. They left her feeling very cold lying on the spinal board.
    Eventually the ASO arrived and the girl was loaded into the ambulance but still the crew weren’t in a hurry to move, in fact they sat there for approx an hour until the girl’s mother said that her and her nusband would take the child to hospital themselves.
    Two and a half hours went by before she got to hospital after having a very rough journey and I am not just talking about the Chase part of the journey.
    Thankfully the girl has recovered quite quickly from her ordeal but it is NO THANKS to the West Midlands ambulance service.

    1. Thank you for your comment Jean. I am assuming that you are a relative of the injured girl given your detailed knowledge of the incident?

      In response, firstly, let me say that I am sorry that you feel let down by the Service – that is never our intention.

      Whilst we have not formally investigated this case, the following may be of assistance?
      • You are quite right that there were a number of calls about this case – the first was at 14:26hrs
      • Mobile phone coverage was not great and the original call dropped out before we got a location logged.
      • Unfortunately, we were not provided with a phone number, as is normally the case, so couldn’t call back.
      • I cannot comment on the rudeness of the call handlers as I have not heard the call – again, my apologies if this is how they came across. Sometimes they can appear firm if they are trying to gain specific information.
      • At that stage we did not have a good location to respond to but an ambulance was dispatched to the approximate location.
      • As you point out, access to the Chase is through locked barriers and we do not have a key. The notes on the case describe contacting the Rangers to provide access, but then as you point out, the gates were opened for us by a third party.
      • The second call is logged at 14:42hrs and gives us a different location – the rifle range. The ambulance was sent to that location where it met up with one of the party as you describe.
      • Clearly driving an ambulance over such rough ground is not ideal and speed is reduced and makes the time to attend longer.
      • The Area Support Officer was making his way to the incident when he was flagged down by a woman with a ehad injury and broken arm. I note your comment about the 10 year old but I hope you would agree that we could not leave this patient (whether they had dialled 999 or not) alone whilst sending two resources to the first patient?
      • There is a note on the system that says information from the group with the patient says that the patient is sitting up which would indicate that her condition is not too serious.
      • Whilst I understand your concern about the potential for internal injuries of the girl, had this been of concern to the crew, I believe they would have requested air ambulance back up.
      • It is unfortunate that there was no vehicle access to the location of the girl, which is why the ASO was dispatched and the timing of the second case was undoubtedly ill-timed. However, I come back to the issue that if the crew felt that the girl’s life to be at risk, they could have requested further assistance.
      • I was sorry to read your comment about the patient becoming cold – each ambulance carries blankets to keep patients warm – I have seen them used many times before by crews and cannot explain why they would not have offered to the patient if she had become cold.
      • In regard to the time to hospital, the system shows the vehicle leaving scene at 16:15 and arriving at Royal Stoke at 16:57. As you are aware, we are no longer allowed to take children to Stafford Hospital due to the changes recently introduced.

      Once again, I would apologise that you feel that you did not get the service you felt you should. Hopefully the above If you feel that you would like to take this further, could I suggest that you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service who would be happy to talk further with you about your concerns.

      Kind regards

      Murray MacGregor
      Communcications Director

      1. Dear Murray,

        I have 21years experience as a Councillor, both Borough and Parish but decided to retire from Council work in May. Therefore I am used to people coming to me with complaints.

        I agree with some of your comments about phone coverage not being great but I would like to know if the phone number is logged at the Call Centre in case the caller is cut off? If so did the Call Centre try and call the caller back? I believe they family were expecting it to happen.

        As the family weren’t told that the Ranger, who was supposed to be unlocking the barrier, had been cancelled they thought it wouldn’t have been unlocked for about 1 ½ hrs if the father hadn’t have known someone himself. I think there is a lack of communication between the Ambulance Staff and the Family thus causing problems.

        I would not expect the woman with the head injuries to be left but again there is lack of communication even though you have to regard confidentiality.

        It was not the length of the journey to the hospital, I and the family were concerned about, it was the length of time it took for the ambulance to leave the scene after the girl had been loaded into the ambulance. The crew sat talking without any regard to the length of time the patient and the mother were waiting in the ambulance. It was when the mother said that her and her husband would take the daughter to hospital themselves that they decide to move and were heard to say “we had better go as the mother is getting stroppy”. Surely this is no way for the ambulance staff to behave. The only reason she was getting stroppy was because approx 1 hour had gone by since the girl had been loaded into the ambulance.

        In the time they wasted they could have delivered the girl to the hospital and been on another job. What a waste of resources!


        Jean Tabernor


        From: West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust [] Sent: 28 July 2015 16:21 To: Subject: [New comment] Horse rider and mountain bike cyclist taken to hospital after separate incidents on Cannock Chase

        officialwmas commented: “Thank you for your comment Jean. I am assuming that you are a relative of the injured girl given your detailed knowledge of the incident? In response, firstly, let me say that I am sorry that you feel let down by the Service – that is never our intentio”

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