AN elderly Greenock woman who was lying unconscious for FIVE hours on her living room floor after a fall says home care staff saved her life after she activated her emergency alarm.

Greenock Telegraph:

Alice McCaughey told the Tele how she suffered a dizzy turn after staying up on Hogmanay on her own watching television. The frail senior citizen spent the bells out cold after falling to the floor in her home.

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The 84-year-old, who lives in Inverkip Road, managed to reach for her alarm round her neck when she regained consciousness and a call handler immediately set the rescue in motion.

Brave Alice, who lost her mobility after suffering a horrific fall in 2016, was rushed to hospital and spent five days recovering.

Alice said: "I don't know what would have happened without the woman on the other end of the line. It saved my life. The lady was incredible, she was so calm and did everything right. It is a such a vital service. I wouldn't be without it.

"I don't usually stay up for the bells and I am in my bed early. But I was talking to my sister-in-law and waiting for something to come on the television.

"I stood up from my chair and everything started spinning, I must have went down like a tonne of bricks.

"I came round at four in the morning on the living room floor. I pressed the button round my neck. The voice on the other end was so calm. The ambulance was there quickly and I was taken to the IRH."

But Alice also experienced the winter chaos engulfing the NHS after being transferred to Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital.

She said: "I have to say in A&E it was chaos. I was waiting there for hours. I didn't see anyone until eight in the morning. The nurses were great but they were clearly under pressure and understaffed.

"I didn't get admitted to a ward until 8pm, then I was in five different wards after that."

The disabled rights and community activist, who has campaigned tirelessly throughout her life, is still recovering but now fears she may not be able to go out independently again following her most recent setback.

While she escaped without any fractures, she is worried about the long term impact.

She said: "I am black and blue, but luckily nothing is broken. My doctor has looked at my medicines as I have to take so many."

Alice, who led the Belville Community Association and helped set up the community garden on the site of the former high flats,  suffered a terrible fall eight years ago.

She slipped on stairs in her Belville Street flat and sustained a broken back. Due to her loss of mobility she had to move house and is unable to go out and about unaided, relying on services like Dial-a-Bus and the scooters at Shopmobility.

Alice said: "I don't know what I would do without them, they are both lifelines for me. My days out at the shops are what keeps me going. I just hope I can get back out and about.

"The community alarm service is vital, there is a charge but it is worth every penny. I would also like to thank everyone including my neighbours for their kindness."

A spokesperson for Inverclyde health and social care partnership said: “While we always hope that people who access the telecare service will have no reason to use it, this is precisely why it is there, to provide people with peace of mind and vital support in the event of an emergency.

“Staff who work directly with the Telecare service will be delighted with the positive feedback from Mrs McCaughey and we would all like to wish her a speedy recovery.”

In response to Alice's comments on her experience at the RAH, a spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde said: "As is the case throughout the country, winter has brought increased pressure on our services.

We would like to apologise to anyone who has had to wait longer than they would have expected, and would be keen to investigate this patient’s specific concerns if they would like to contact us directly.

"All our staff are working extremely hard to address these challenges, and we would like to thank them for their continued professionalism and commitment."