Shocking moment terminal cancer patient, 85, forced to wait on ground for ambulance for seven hours during downpour | The SunDecember 6, 2022
A PENSIONER with terminal cancer endured an agonising seven hour wait for an ambulance despite living directly opposite a major hospital.
Keith Royles, 85, was forced into the ordeal after falling and breaking his hip while mowing his lawn in September.
Despite being able to see Glan Clwyd Hospital from his home, Keith, from Denbighshire, Wales, had to sit on the freezing ground for hours as he waited desperately for help.
Following his nightmare delay, the 85-year-old's daughter Tina described her dad's ordeal as "heartbreaking".
She added that after calling for an emergency ambulance, she was immediately told Keith would be need to wait between four to seven hours.
The Welsh ambulance service apologised to Keith and his family, and said hospital handover delays were the “single biggest reason” why they couldn’t get to some patients quickly.
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Speaking to Welsh TV programme Y Byd ar Bedwar, Tina added: “We called several times and my sister even tried to flag down an ambulance but they said they couldn’t help.”
There was also heavy rain on the day, so Keith's heroic neighbours leapt into action and built him a temporary shelter as he lay on the freezing concrete.
When paramedics eventually arrived, Keith's family were stunned to be told he would then be taken to a hospital over 30 miles away as the one within sight was too busy.
But ambulance staff were able to successfully argue that as he lived so close he desperately needed to be taken to the nearest source of help.
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“As a family, we’re not faulting the staff, but the system is broken," Mr Royles' daughter said.
"I feel sorry for the people that have gotten into the service because it must be so frustrating and heartbreaking to be in that situation.
"They must be leaving in their droves."
Lee Brooks, executive director of operations at the Welsh ambulance service, told the TV programme: “We are deeply sorry about Mr Royles’ experience, which was no doubt a painful and anxious wait for all involved.
“Hospital handover delays remain the single biggest reason we cannot get to some patients quickly.
"It’ll take a system-wide effort to resolve a system-wide issue.”
The Royles family told their story as part of Y Byd ar Bedwar’s investigation into the Emergency Department at Glan Clwyd.
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