999 bosses 'sorry' over no show ambulance

Exterior of the new Wigan Community Fire and Ambulance Station, Robin Park Road, Wigan
Exterior of the new Wigan Community Fire and Ambulance Station, Robin Park Road, Wigan
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Ambulance chiefs have apologised to a seriously injured accident casualty after paramedics failed to come for him.

Police were eventually forced to take the stricken man to hospital themselves after a 50-minute wait.

The service, which said it was facing a particularly busy workload at the time, was today blasted by the Wigan resident who first found and tended to the man.

Peter Hill says multiple calls to 999 yielded no results after he witnessed the man, thought to be in his 50s, suffer a bad fall in a street near Wigan North Western railway station. He banged his head and was bleeding heavily after the accident last Sunday evening.

The 49-year-old said: “My friend I were coming out of the pub, when we heard this fuss across the street.“We looked up and saw this guy had cracked his head on the ground. He was losing blood fast, so we were comforting him and his wife.”

Other members of the public soon came to assist the man by providing towels and other items to keep him warm and stem the blood flow.

Mr Hill, who lives in Beech Hill, said that at least three separate calls were made to the emergency services, before a passing police car stopped at the scene roughly 10 minutes after the incident occurred.

Officers then made two phone calls of their own to paramedics, requesting assistance as a priority due to how much blood the man had lost. Peter said: “It was freezing outside, and the police said they would have to move him themselves. They took him to Wigan Infirmary in the back of their van, and still no ambulance ever turned up.”

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “Unfortunately, this call came in at an extremely busy time for us, particularly due to the bad weather this weekend, and we were not able to allocate a resource as quickly as we would have liked.”

They later received a further call from police to say that they would be able to transport the patient themselves, and the ambulance was therefore cancelled. The spokesman added: “We apologise to the patient and hope that he is now recovering well.

“If he or his family would like to discuss this with us in more detail, our patient experience team will be happy speak to them. We must stress the importance of only calling for an ambulance if absolutely necessary. We need to keep our ambulances free to attend emergencies such as this one so please consider other options and make the right call this winter.”