A GP practice has come in for criticism – after a neighbour said it refused to help a woman when she fell in the street outside its surgery.

The woman, in her sixties, fell outside the Church View surgery, in Rayleigh High Street, yesterday.

Two passers-by went to help and comfort the distressed woman, but when one of them went to the surgery to seek help, they say staff turned them away, telling them to call an ambulance.

The public-spirited pair called an ambulance at 11.16am and waited with the woman until it arrived about 15 minutes later.

One neighbour, who saw the couple trying to help the fallen woman, said: “I told them about the surgery. They said they had been in to ask for help, but no one would come out.

“They told them to dial 999 and ask for an ambulance, which I found absolutely disgusting.

“This ladywas on the pavement in distress for 15 minutes while they waited for the ambulance.

“If this is the policy now – that a doctor does not have a duty of care – then something is totally wrong. They didn’t know if the situation was serious or not.

“They had the ability to provide assistance and I feel somebody should have at least come out to provide some reassurance.

“Ultimately, that surgery needs to be taken to task for its poor and disgusting attitude.”

However, a practice manager at the surgery, who refused to give their name, said the person who came in never asked surgery staff for help, only if they should call an ambulance.

An ambulance service spokesman said: “A woman in her sixties had fallen in the street.

“We were called at 11.16am and an ambulance crew attended.

“Her injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, but she was taken to Southend Hospital as a precaution.”