Langley pensioner criticises 'unbelievable' 11-hour wait for ambulance

A pensioner from Langley has said it is ‘unbelievable’ he had to wait 11 hours for an ambulance after experiencing breathing difficulties.

Ali Khan has criticised the response from South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) after he waited overnight for an ambulance to arrive last month.

But the ambulance service has stressed patients may have to wait longer during ‘times of extreme pressure’ and said calls are prioritised based on clinical need.

Mr Khan suffers with heart problems and water on the lungs and called an ambulance just after 10pm on Friday, July 22 after experiencing breathing difficulties and breathlessness.

The 75-year-old explained that his breathing was ‘very, very bad’ and added that, upon ringing, he initially heard an automated message stating that estimated arrival times for ambulances cannot be given and asking the public not to call back.

Following this, he spoke to an operator who told him that an ambulance was on its way.

However, Mr Khan said that by 6am on Saturday, July 23, an ambulance still had not arrived and so he called again.

He said the operator apologised for the time it was taking and said they were doing their best to get an ambulance to him.

Mr Khan added that when ambulance finally arrived at 9.30am, he was still bad and was taken to Wexham Park Hospital where he was given treatment, including an oxygen mask, to clear his lungs, and remained until the evening.

Mr Khan said: “It was very very bad.

“I had to sit down the whole night, because I couldn’t lie down, because I couldn’t breathe, because my [lungs were] full up with the water.

On waiting more than 11 hours, he added: “I have never [had] this situation before.

“I have been in this country for over 50 years. This is the first time the

ambulance problem has occurred.

“Within 15 to 20 minutes the ambulance is on the door.

“Before they used to say anywhere in London, if you ring for the ambulance, within 14 minutes the ambulance will be there – despite the traffic.”

However, he added that it is ‘shocking’ and ‘unbelievable’ that he had to wait more than 11 hours, despite the hospital being just three miles from where he lives.

A spokesperson for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), said: “While we want to respond to all patients as quickly as possible, calls are prioritised based on clinical need to ensure those who are most at risk receive the care and treatment they require as quickly as possible.

“This prioritisation does mean some patients will wait longer after they have been assessed, particularly at times of extreme pressure on our services as we have been experiencing, but we always attempt to provide the most appropriate advice while they wait and inform them of any expected delays.

“Keeping patients informed about our service levels is increasingly

important as it can help people to make choices about their care and seek alternatives where it is safe and appropriate to do so and when an urgent ambulance response is not required.

“We would be happy to talk to Mr Ali about the care he received and urge him to contact our patient experience team directly on 0300 123 9280 or by email at PatientExperience@scas.nhs.uk so we can talk through the process and the care he received with him.”

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