The final words of a Cotswold man have been revealed following an investigation into ambulance wait times.
Ambulances in England have spent more than a million hours stuck outside A&Es waiting to offload patients, according to a File on 4 investigation.
Some 300,000 patients have potentially been harmed as a result of the delays, which occurred between January and September.
A special programme, The Ambulance Crisis: 24 Hours On The Front Line, highlights tales of patient suffering including that of 94-year-old Ken Shadbolt from Chipping Campden, who died in March after waiting more than five hours for an ambulance.
The last phone call made by Mr Shadbolt was played on the show, which aired on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, October 18.
“I’m getting worse by the minute,” he said.
“I’m laying on the bathroom floor because I have had a bad fall.
“I feel terrible sick. I’m in terrible pain.
“If it’s going on another half hour I’ll probably be dead… oh my headache.
“Send me the undertaker, that would be the best bet.”
This is 94-year-old Ken’s final call
He was unconscious by the time an ambulance arrived five hours later and died in hospital
Tonight #Fileon4 hears how paramedics are struggling to cope with demand
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) October 18, 2022
The analysis found that the longest wait in September was 26 hours.
Additionally, every single day last month nearly 400 patients and crews waited for longer than three hours outside a hospital in England, the BBC reported.
File on 4 was given the data on ambulance delays by the the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).
AACE managing director, Martin Flaherty, said: “These unprecedented delays at hospital emergency departments are a twin threat; they cause significant harm to patients who are forced to wait in the back of our ambulances, while those resources are tied up and therefore unable to respond to patients who need us out in the community.”
An NHS spokesperson added: “Latest figures show the immense pressures on ambulance services with staff dealing with a record number of the most serious callouts this summer.
“The NHS is announcing plans to enable better handover of patients so ambulances can get back on the road quickly, a new falls response service alongside the recruitment of more call handlers.”
Meanwhile, Therese Coffey said that ambulances are one of her top priorities as health secretary.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our heartfelt sympathies are with these families.
“The Health and Social Care Secretary is focused on delivering for patients and will do this through her ABCD priorities – including easing pressure on ambulances, clearing the Covid backlogs, supporting the care sector to ensure people can leave hospital and ensuring improved access to doctors and dentists.
“Our Plan For Patients sets out a range of measures, including an extra £500 million to speed up discharge and free up beds.”