A 94-YEAR-OLD woman waited for more than three hours in an ambulance outside a hospital.
Bagillt councillor Mike Reece has criticised health chiefs for the delay after his mother was left in a queue of ambulances outside Glan Clwyd Hospital.
Cllr Reece believes the delays may be connected to the closures of community hospital wards by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, including nearby Flint Hospital.
However, health chiefs say the delays are due to a “significant increase in the number of seriously ill patients being admitted to hospital”.
Cllr Reece said a queue of about six ambulances had built up by the time he arrived at the hospital.
“This is going to get worse,” he said. “It seems the hospital closures are starting to bite. I am very unhappy with the health board about the situation that now exists.
“We are having a situation where ambulances are building up outside hospitals. It seems to have been a case of who was a priority who was treated first, which is right, but people should not have to wait this long.
“We should not be having ambulances queueing up with patients like this outside our hospitals.”
Cllr Reece’s concerns follow complaints about lengthy delays of ambulances outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital in the past week.
He added: “When you see the situation affecting your own mother you realise just how bad it is. But it is not just about us, it is everyone this affects.
“The health board needs to see for itself how bad the situation has become.
“I really fear somebody’s welfare could be put at risk due to the wait they may have to face. It is a great concern.”
Cllr Reece said the ambulance service was called at about 11.30am after his mother complained of feeling ill.
Yesterday she was back home and was on the mend.
A spokesman for the health board said: “Although we cannot comment on individual cases we are very sorry that Mrs Reece had to wait such a long time to be seen at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
“This is not the type of care we want to provide for our patients.
“Over the last few weeks there has been a significant increase in the number of seriously ill patients being admitted to hospital, which has put increased pressure on beds as patients have needed longer stays in hospital than normal.”
The spokesman said the hospital’s doctors and nurses are working “extremely hard” to cope with the demands placed.
“We are also working closely with the Welsh Ambulance Service and general practitioners to reduce admissions and minimise delays at the A&E department wherever possible,” added the spokesman.
“It is also important for patients to remember that by Choosing Well for the right treatment, they can help us free up emergency medical care for those facing life threatening illnesses or injuries.
“Our planned changes to community services for Flint and the surrounding area, such as developing home enhanced care will provide alternatives to hospital admission which do not currently exist and will therefore reduce pressure on emergency admissions and beds in both the acute and community hospitals.”