A FRAIL pensioner was left waiting for an ambulance for over an hour after collapsing in Wigan town centre.
Harold Lowe was eventually taken to hospital by a passer-by who stayed with the 88-year-old after he tripped and fell in Market Place.
The Bryn OAP collapsed and tripped on Monday lunchtime, cutting his head, arm and hand and injuring his ribs.
Ambulance chiefs have now issued an apology to Mr Lowe for his ordeal.
Mr Lowe told the Wigan Evening Post: “It’s taking me a while to come around properly and I don’t think I will ever trust the ambulance service ever again.
“It was awful – I remember that I just kept thinking they would be around the corner any minute now but they never showed up.
“If it wasn’t for the people there helping me I don’t know what I would have done, they’re the definition of Good Samaritans and I would just love to thank them for being there.”
Mr Lowe was helped and taken to hospital by a lady who was also looking after her three children and elderly mother at the time but he did not get her name.
Staff at Wigan Infirmary treated him for cuts and bruising and has had to bandage up his hand along with putting plastic staples in his arm.
Harold’s daughter, Anne-Marie, 50, blasted the ambulance service’s late response as “appalling”.
She added: “It’s absolutely terrible as when I arrived at the hospital to see my dad there were four ambulances parked up at the entrance, it’s no where near good enough.
“He has worked and lived in Wigan all his life and it’s awful that he has been treated like this. I was out of my mind with worry.”
Last week the Wigan Evening Post reported that paramedics were struggling to deliver patients to hospital and get back out on the road.
The Labour Party survey showed more than 21,000 patients in the North West had to wait longer than 30 minutes to be handed over to nursing staff last year - when the target transfer time is 15 minutes.
More than 3,500 of those ended up waiting longer than an hour. The longest a patient had to wait was a staggering four hours and 45 minutes - tying up an ambulance crew for around half a shift.
A spokesman for North West Ambulance said: “We understand that waiting for an ambulance can be distressing and we are sorry for any upset caused to the patient.
“When received, all 999 calls are given a priority rating, based on the information given by the caller, to make sure patients receive the most appropriate response for their needs and those with immediately life-threatening conditions are responded to first.
“We urge patients and their families to contact us directly to discuss any concerns regarding the service we provide.”
* Do you know the good Samaritan who helped Mr Lowe? Call our newsdesk on 01942 506276.