CONCERNS have been raised after the Welsh Ambulance Service took more than an hour to reach a casualty.
It follows the incident on Mold Road in Connah’s Quay on Friday where a man in his 70s had fallen and was lying by the side of the road.
A call for an ambulance was made at 12.53pm, but it didn’t arrive until 2pm.
The ambulance service has said it is concerned over the delay.
At the time it was dealing with a large number of calls which reduced availability of crews and vehicles.
A number of onlookers were worried for the man’s wellbeing, including Bill Foulkes, 74, of Dodd’s Drive in Connah’s Quay.
Mr Foulkes said when he came across the incident he was told the man had been waiting for an hour. There were a number of people looking after the casualty, including at least two police officers.
“The man was on the road against the kerb. I was shocked when I heard how long the ambulance was taking. I think it is terrible,” added Mr Foulkes.
Gordon Roberts, the Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust’s head of service for Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board area, said: “The service assesses and prioritises calls to ensure we can get to the sickest patient first.
“At 12.53pm on Friday we were called to reports a man had fallen in Connah’s Quay.
“The call was categorised as serious but not immediately life-threatening, which requires a response within 30 minutes.
“A paramedic in a rapid response car was allocated immediately but was diverted to a life-threatening emergency as it was making its way.
“While waiting for another resource to become available, the call was passed to our colleagues at NHS Direct Wales for further clinical support and assessment.”
Mr Roberts said when it was reported that the patient’s condition was worsening at 1.47pm, the call was then re-categorised as serious and immediately life-threatening.
“A second rapid response car and an emergency ambulance were allocated, and reached the scene at 2pm,” he said.
“At the time of this incident, the service was dealing with a large number of calls, which reduced the availability of our crews and vehicles and impacted on our ability to respond to calls in a timely manner.
“Despite the pressures, we are concerned there was a delay in the response to this call, and encourage the patient to contact us directly if they wish to discuss the case in more detail.
“We take our performance very seriously and are working hard both internally to ensure that we have the right amount of crews on at the right time when patients are calling for our help, and externally with the health board to develop alternative pathways for ambulance crews to access for patients who do not need to go to A&E and on improving the handover delays which mean that crews are not available to respond to 999 calls quickly.
Mr Roberts said for advice and treatment of most illnesses, people should visit their GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.
“Treatment for minor injuries, such as cuts, bites, stings and muscle and joint injuries, can be provided at your local minor injuries unit, where there is no need for an appointment,” he added.
“Only dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency, if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.”
North Wales Police spokesman Michael McGivern said: “The man appeared to have a head injury. It is not a criminal incident.”