Man waited in pain for seven hours for ambulance after suspected heart attack

A man who waited seven hours for an ambulance while having a suspected heart attack has questioned why he wasn't advised to try and find his own way to hospital.

The ambulance service has apologised for the length of time it took to reach the patient
The ambulance service has apologised for the length of time it took to reach the patient

Chris Scott, 71, from Fir Tree Close in Ellesmere, said that if officials had told him it would be seven hours before help arrived then other family members could have taken him to hospital within 30 minutes.

Ultimately Mr Scott was not having a heart attack, but did require surgery on his gall bladder after being admitted to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has apologised for the time it took to get to Mr Scott, highlighting the pressure on the service due to continuing delays in handing patients over to hospitals.

The incident, which took place on Tuesday, October 19, is a further indication of the strain placed on the ambulance service, which last week revealed its own concerns that patients were coming to harm because it could not reach them in time.

The service has been facing major difficulties with hospital handovers leading to huge numbers of ambulances effectively being taken off the road.

Mr Scott said: "In the late afternoon I started to have bad chest pain – I have never had pain like it, I thought it was a heart attack.

"My wife called 111 and they said 'please drop us an email' and then we rang 999."

Mr Scott said that they had been told to expect an ambulance blue-lighted to him, to put masks on, open the windows, and have someone stand outside to meet the paramedics.

It was around 5am when the ambulance then arrived.

Mr Scott said: "There was just no indication as to the time. The indication we had from the call was that they were on their way.

"We rang again on two or three occasions and each time we got the same response that gave us the feeling that an ambulance was around the corner and eventually it arrived between 5am and 5.30am.

"If they had said 'is there anyone there to take you', my wife would have said 'my brother-in-law is here' and we would have been there in half an hour.

"I don't have any bad words to say about the NHS, the ambulance and the hospital were brilliant. I was straight from the ambulance into the hospital but if they just altered their message to say 'is there someone that can take you' we would have been there a lot quicker.

"But because of the confidence building up in us that the ambulance was close we just waited and waited and waited."

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance service said: "The trust would like to apologise for taking seven hours to respond to Mr Scott.

"Staff in our control room spoke with the caller to reassess the patient’s condition three times, each time explaining that an ambulance would respond to the property on blue lights when one become available, but due to the delays being experienced at hospital, it took us longer than we would want to get to Mr Scott.

“The whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure; hospital handover delays unfortunately mean patients waiting longer for an ambulance response, for which we are very sorry. We are working with all local NHS partners to reduce delays so crews can respond to the next incident as quickly as possible.

“Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to reach patients as quickly as possible, but we accept that on too many occasions, this is not as quickly as we would want and certainly not as quickly as patients and their loved ones would want.”

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