Eight-hour wait for ambulance

Worried mother Doreen Lea, from Ashton, who had to wait eight hours for an ambulance for her disabled son Anthony, pictured with her daughter Deborah Lea, right

Worried mother Doreen Lea, from Ashton, who had to wait eight hours for an ambulance for her disabled son Anthony, pictured with her daughter Deborah Lea, right

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THE family of a disabled man suffering from suspected pneumonia are dismayed he had to wait almost eight hours for an ambulance.

When Anthony Lea, 43, of Ashton, who had recently recovered from pneumonia, began to suffer from severe chest problems, his mum Doreen, called his doctor.

After assessing him at their Ashton home, the doctor rang for a non-emergency ambulance, which arrived within four hours.

But as Mr Lea, who is quadriplegic and has learning difficulties, was in a wheelchair, paramedics said they were unable to take him.

As a result, they had to order another non-emergency ambulance, which again, took almost four hours to arrive,

Mrs Lea, 72, who cares for her son with help from her daughter Deborah, said: “About five weeks ago, Anthony developed pneumonia after suffering from a chest infection in hospital.

“It was so bad, we were told by doctors he may not make it, but thankfully the antibiotics worked and he pulled through.

“But earlier last week, he became ill again and showed the same symptoms of pneumonia and I was panicking, as we nearly lost him last time.

“A doctor came and rang for a non-emergency ambulance, which would take up to four hours, as they were working in between emergencies.

“An ambulance came three-and-a-half hours later, but as paramedics said they did not have the right equipment for his wheelchair, we had to wait another four hours,

“They checked his temperature and said he was okay but I was still worried.

“When the second ambulance arrived paramedics said they didn’t know why my son was refused access as they were not equipped either but they managed to strap him in his wheelchair to a stretcher,

“I have never had this problem before. We were told constantly by the ambulance control this was not an emergency, but I believe it should have been treated so and we should never have had to wait so long.

“When the second ambulance came and strapped him on a stretcher, I want to know why the other crew did not do that in the first place?

“I thought he was going to die, as he was really bad.”

Mrs Lea has made a complaint to North West Ambulance Service, (NWAS) which is now looking into the matter.

A spokesperson for the NWAS said: “We were very sorry to hear of the distress the long wait caused the patient and his family.

“We have made contact with Mrs Lea to apologise and have assured the family that we will be fully investigating the incident.

“We take all complaints very seriously and once our investigation is complete, we will share our findings with Mrs Lea.”