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Pensioner, 72, who collapsed was left lying on his own floor for FIVE HOURS while waiting for an NHS ambulance

  • Leon Moody, avoid pruritis ani caffeine 72, said he has ‘lost faith in the health service’ after he fell at home 
  • His son had to ring 999 more than three times before the ambulance arrived
  • He was put through to call handlers more than 200 miles from the home

A pensioner was left lying on the floor in pain waiting for an ambulance for more than five hours because local call handlers were too busy.

Leon Moody, 72, said he has ‘lost faith in the health service’ after he fell in his home in Kingham, Oxfordshire, at around 9am on October 5.

His carer immediately called for an ambulance and Mr Moody’s son Mark, 35, from nearby Chipping Norton, rushed over to the home.

After about an hour they had heard no word from South Central Ambulance Service — which on Saturday declared it is ‘overwhelmed’ by the volume of calls it is receiving — so Mark rang 999 again to check where the vehicle was.

It took five minutes for his call to be answered and the call handler said he had been put through to the Yorkshire branch more than 200 miles away because local handlers could not take his call.

The ambulance eventually arrived after 2pm, Mr Moody said — more than five hours after the original call. 

It comes amid the growing ambulance crisis across Britain, with severely ill patients being forced to wait more than 12 hours in the vehicles after being picked up, according to NHS data.

Paramedics warned six-hour waits for ambulances could become ‘commonplace’ this winter because of the long queues at hospitals.

The College of Paramedics claimed ambulances have been forced to wait outside of hospitals because of packed A&E wards, and warned that the problems will only get larger as winter demand picks up.

Leon Moody, 72, said he has ‘lost faith in the health service’ after he fell in his home in Kingham, Oxfordshire, and had to wait more than five hours for an ambulance

His son Mark (right) says he was put through to Yorkshire call handlers because the local health service was so busy

An ambulance service has declared a critical incident in the face of ‘extreme pressures’ and an ‘overwhelming’ volume of calls.

South Central Ambulance Service pleaded with the public to be wise when considering whether to call, reminding people they are to be contacted in the event of life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

The declaration of a critical incident comes not long after hospitals in England were ordered to ‘eliminate’ ambulance queues outside their sites after two deaths were linked to handover delays.

NHS bosses highlighted the ‘risk to patient safety’ in the letter which told trusts to end all handover delays and stop using ambulances as emergency department ‘cubicles’.

South Central Ambulance Service covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, Sussex and Surrey.

On Saturday evening, the service tweeted: ‘South Central Ambulance Service has declared a Critical Incident due to extreme pressures across our services. 

‘Our staff and volunteers are working extremely hard to respond to calls but the volume is overwhelming.

‘Please, please support us by using our services wisely, we’re here for life threatening illnesses and injuries. Thank you so much #HelpUsHelpYou.’

Earlier this week, ambulance leaders have described the ‘highest level of emergency activity in history’ and reports from around the country paint a bleak picture of ambulances queuing for hours outside busy hospitals.

Martin Flaherty, managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said: ‘The ambulance sector is experiencing some of the highest levels of emergency activity in its history and this is regrettably leading to delays in the sector’s ability to respond to some patients.’

According to the NHS, a critical incident is any localised incident where the level of disruption results in an organisation temporarily or permanently losing its ability to deliver critical services, patients may have been harmed or the environment is not safe, requiring special measures and support from other agencies to restore normal operating functions.

And the problems already appear to have started in Mr Moody’s case, whose son said he was ‘gobsmacked’ by the wait.

He told the Oxfordshire Mail: ‘An hour went by and we had not heard anything and nobody had arrived. 

‘Obviously, my dad was in a lot of pain and was distressed because of having to lie on the floor like that, so I rang 999 and it was just ringing and ringing. It was going on like this for about three minutes.

‘I got through to someone and explained to them that my dad has had a fall. The call handler was getting the details up and he said: “You are in the south-east aren’t you?”.’

He said the call handler told him Yorkshire was the closest call centre available to answer because all the local services were too busy.

Mr Moody said he ‘could not believe’ how poor the service was and was too scared to move his father in case it made him worse.

He was put through to another ‘really apologetic’ call operator after waiting more than an hour again with no sign of the ambulance.

When the ambulance finally arrived hours later still, Mr Moody said the paramedics were ‘brilliant’.

But he said during the wait he kept thinking what would have happened had his father’s fall been more serious and he was left there stranded.

He said: ‘I was just sat there thinking, what if my dad was having a heart attack or something really serious?

‘Those minutes they took to answer would have made all the difference between life or death. I have never seen anything like it.’

He said his father is doing ‘ok’ but he wants ‘people to take notice of what is going on’ and for his ‘voice to be heard’.

South Central Ambulance Service, which covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, has been approached for comment.

On Saturday it said it has been ‘overwhelmed’ with calls, blaming GP waiting-list backlogs, ambulance queues at hospitals for its slow services.

It declared a ‘critical incident’, asking people to only call 999 in a ‘life threatening or serious emergency’. 

Earlier this week, ambulance leaders described the ‘highest level of emergency activity in history’ and reports from around the country paint a bleak picture of ambulances queuing for hours outside busy hospitals.

Martin Flaherty, managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said: ‘The ambulance sector is experiencing some of the highest levels of emergency activity in its history and this is regrettably leading to delays in the sector’s ability to respond to some patients.’

And the College of Paramedics last month warned the UK faces a ‘bleak’ few months amid reports of increasing waits for A&E care. People who suffer heart attacks or strokes are likely to be the worst affected.

Health services across the country are experiencing four- to six-hour delays in getting to patients, increasing numbers of ambulances waiting outside hospitals and a backlog of 999 calls.

Richard Webber, a paramedic and spokesman for the college, said: ‘This issue has been bad for a while, hospitals have been so much busier.

‘Patients are being admitted and what’s happening is they cannot move them straight into A&E, so ambulances have become cabs waiting to unload outside hospitals.

‘Our members are reporting delays of four to six hours in getting to people, which means there can be up to 15 ambulances waiting outside hospitals with patients inside.

‘This also creates a backlog of 999 calls. I’m talking (about) up to 300 calls for a service to deal with, leaving people to wait at home potentially in need of serious medical attention.

‘Everything is therefore taking longer; staff are dealing with three or four incidents every shift, when they would usually do as many as eight.’

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