A war veteran had to endure a five-hour wait for an ambulance in ‘extreme’ pain after falling and breaking his hip at his Ellesmere Port home.
Roy Thomas, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in April, suffered a fall in his kitchen last Thursday (February 26).
The grandfather, who lives alone with his two Jack Russell terriers after his wife Pauline passed away last year, managed to drag himself across the floor to the telephone and called his family for help.
Son-in-law Robert Hughes and granddaughter Alexandra, 18, raced from their house in Little Sutton and made the first 999 call shortly after 6pm.
Roy’s daughter Christine arrived to be by her dad’s side but after calling several more times, medical help did not turn up until after 11pm that night.
Now Roy’s family is hoping changes will be made so others don’t have to face seeing their relatives suffer.
While Robert described the paramedics as ‘brilliant’ when they finally arrived, he told the Pioneer he was surprised and angry that his father-in-law was made to wait so long.
He said telephone operators told them they were ‘very busy’ and did not consider Roy’s condition as life-threatening.
“We were taking it in turns to wait outside in the cold to make sure that the ambulance did not drive past because we did not want to add to the delay,” he said.
“He was moaning the whole time – it was extremely painful for him.
“I would say we made four or five calls.
“My wife had to spend hours looking at her dad in pain.
“Even if they had sent one of those rapid response vehicles so they could give him some pain relief, that would not have been so bad.
“Hopefully some changes will be made and other people will not have to wait and watch their loved ones in pain.”
Roy, who has six medals from his time in both the Navy and the Army, saw active service in the Second World War as a boy seaman on the Atlantic Convoys and served with the Parachute Regiment in Palestine following the war.
He then became a tanker driver for Shell at Stanlow, where he worked until his retirement in 1985.
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust has apologised and admitted the delay was ‘clearly not acceptable’.
A spokesman said: “We are extremely sorry for the delay in sending a resource to attend to the patient and understand that it is a very distressing time when waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“Our thoughts are with the patient whilst he recovers.
“This patient waited five hours for an emergency vehicle to arrive, which is clearly not acceptable. We will be making contact with the family to listen to their concerns and investigate the reasons as to why this delay occurred.”
Roy had surgery at the Countess of Chester Hospital the following morning and, with the help of staff, was back on his feet for the first time since his fall, on Monday.