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Pensioner, 84, 'waited five hours on pavement' for an ambulance

An elderly man who suffered a fall spent five hours waiting on the pavement for an ambulance to arrive.

Donavan Marsh, 84, fell while cutting hedges in Capel Seion, Wales, about 4pm on Tuesday.

His son, Dave, raced to the scene after the 84-year-old was spotted by pubgoers who made an initial 999 call.

Mr Marsh said his father got worse as they repeatedly tried to get help.

He said: ‘We were told not to move him and to not give him food or water and were told to tell them if he deteriorated. We rang four times in the five hours, he was in an uncomfortable position on his side and was getting cold as time went on.

‘I was worried because at his age, a fall could turn into something more serious and he’s the type of person who would usually get up after a fall.

‘Luckily, on Tuesday it was fairly mild and dry. If it was Wednesday night, it would have been even worse with all that rain.

‘But even though it was mild, he was getting colder and colder and ended up with four blankets on him by the end.’

Mr Marsh praised the paramedics but added it was clear the NHS ‘couldn’t cope’ with demand.

He said: ‘They did come in the end and they were very professional. When you call up you are asked questions and they obviously have to prioritise serious cases.

‘They took him to Morrison Hospital to the old persons’ assessment suite and kept him there overnight.

‘They rang me yesterday and moved him to the main hospital since he has a urinary tract infection, so he’ll probably be in there for a couple of days and he’s on antibiotics.

‘I can see why it takes a long time, when they came they had to do an assessment and paperwork before leaving for hospital.

‘And at the end of the day it’s about resources and the size of our population – the NHS can’t cope.’

Welsh Ambulance Service Trust director of operations Lee Brooks reminded people that the best way to keep pressure off paramedics was to reserve 999 calls for emergencies only.

He said: ‘Contrary to popular belief, demand on our ambulance service actually fell during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s fair to say that normal business has resumed with regards demand.

‘Through all of this, our crews show up and deliver the best possible care for those who need us, often in full PPE.’

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