A disabled man has expressed his outrage after waiting more than six hours to be rescued when he fell in his home.
Bill Naismith, who has multiple sclerosis, fell from his wheelchair at around 6pm on Wednesday as he reached to get something. He did not have the strength to get himself up, but fortunately his mobile phone was in his pocket and with no relatives for him to call for help, he rang 999 for an ambulance.
But the 61-year-old, who lives alone, had no idea how long he would have to wait to be lifted from the floor.
Mr Naismith says he phoned the ambulance service five times as he lay on the ground in his bungalow on Maple Avenue, Lowton. He claims he was told ambulances were being diverted to other emergency calls.
And when a crew did finally arrive at around 10pm, they did not have the right equipment to lift him. Paramedics stayed with him and called the control room several times to request a vehicle with the right equipment.
But it was 12.45am - more than six-and-a-half hours after he fell - before the second ambulance arrived and the crew used an inflatable seat device to lift him from the floor.
Mr Naismith was not injured in the fall, but says his hips were bruised and painful from lying on the ground for so long, and he refused to be taken to hospital.
He said: “I was very angry. When they took my blood pressure it was sky high and I said it would be from lying on the floor for so long.”
Mr Naismith, who used to work in a cotton mill and on the buses, is upset that he had to wait so long for help.
He said: “I do think they should have come to me sooner. I thought they would have checked the ambulance they sent to make sure it has the right seat in. They knew they were coming.”
If he falls again, he says he would prefer not to call the ambulance service for help.
“ I will ring the fire brigade because I can’t keep waiting five, six, seven hours. That’s ridiculous,” he said.
“I was very angry about it. It was starting to affect my breathing because I was on the cold floor for a long time.”
Matt Calderbank, Wigan operations manager for North West Ambulance Service, said: “We send our best wishes to Mr Naismith and are sorry to hear that he was unhappy with our response.
“Our ambulances carry specialist equipment to help safely lift patients who have fallen and unfortunately, on this occasion, this wasn’t available on the first ambulance that arrived.
“Due to the number of emergencies in the area at the same time, we were unable to send a second vehicle immediately. However our clinicians stayed with the patient to care for him and monitor his condition and as soon as an ambulance became available, it was sent to him. We encourage Mr Naismith to get in touch with us through our patient experience team who can speak to him in more detail about our response.”