Stroud man left waiting eight hours for ambulance

A Stroud man said he was scared he would die while waiting eight hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Paul O’Mahoney’s partner called for an ambulance just before 9pm on Tuesday, November 2, after his heart went into AF (atrial fibrillation).

AF is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

Paul, who lives in Cashes Green, also suffers from heart disease and vascular disease. He has a pacemaker and says he is ‘in and out of hospital’.

“I thought my heart was going to stop. I thought I was going to die,” he said.

“I was sweating like I’d just ran a marathon.”

By the time an ambulance arrived around 5am his heart was no longer in AF and Paul was checked over by the ambulance crew.

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service said they are experiencing their highest-ever level of demand, with ambulances being forced to queue outside hospitals and unable to respond to other patients.

On the same day an ambulance was called, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust released a statement saying their hospitals were ‘extremely busy’.

Paul, 59, says the experience has left him worried about what might happen if he requires an ambulance again.

“It’s not fair on me or the ambulance crew,” he said.

“It shouldn’t happen. Not in this day and age.

“It plays on your mind. It’s affecting my life.

“Somebody is going to die over it and hopefully it’s not me.”

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service said: “South Western Ambulance Service received a call at 8.57pm on Tuesday, November 2 to an address in Stroud. An ambulance was allocated and a man was treated at the scene.

“We continue to experience the highest-ever level of sustained demand on our service. It is an absolute priority for us and our NHS partners to reduce these delays, so we can be there for our patients, while prioritising those who are most seriously injured and ill.

“Our response times are directly affected by the time it takes us to handover patients into busy hospital emergency departments, which is longer than we have ever seen before. We are losing many more hours compared with recent years which causes our ambulances to queue outside hospitals and unable to respond to other patients and has an inevitable impact on the service we can provide.

“Patients who need urgent medical help or advice are encouraged to visit or to call 111, which is free and available 24/7. This will ensure they get the right care, and the ambulance service can focus on those most in need.

“For ongoing or non-urgent medical concerns or if they need medicines, people should contact their local GP surgery or a local pharmacy.”

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