A man whose dad fell and hit his head on a trip to a supermarket was shocked to be told an ambulance could take up to 10 hours.
Russell Jones was with 90-year-old Graham Jones in the car park of Sainsbury’s in Urmston at the time of the incident last week.
Russell said Graham, an ex-Salford RLFC star who lives in retirement accommodation at The Acacias on Granville Road, was behind him when he heard a shout.
His dad fell and hit his head on the floor.
Staff from Sainsbury’s and others came to the assistance of Russell and Graham, but when an ambulance was called they were told it could take up to 10 hours.
Russell said: “My dad banged his head and he was cold.
“Someone brought a wheelchair, but I was not sure what to do. I was shocked.”
He added: “There was blood everywhere, all over his pants, all over his shirt.
“I held a tissue to his head to try to stop it.”
As Graham got colder and colder, his son realised he needed to take action.
He took him home, rather than to the hospital, where he patched up his dad on his own.
He said: “Last time we went to A&E, we were at Salford Royal for hours and we gave up.
“It is broken. They can’t cope,” he added, on the ambulance service and the NHS in general.
The incident is symptomatic of the significant pressure on North West Ambulance Service, but also on services across the country.
This comes as ambulance service workers start to vote on strike action, with one of the issues concerning staffing in these services.
A spokesperson for North West Ambulance Service said: “The emergency services remain under significant pressure and we are working hard to ensure everyone who needs an ambulance gets one as quickly as possible.
“However, we must attend to the most life-threatening conditions and injuries first, and this can mean some patients are waiting longer than we would like.
“To be as transparent as possible about the pressure we are facing, we offer estimated times of arrival, which allows patients to consider making alternative transport arrangements to the hospital, as happened in this case.
“If this is not possible, an ambulance will frequently arrive sooner than advised.”
They also appealed to people to consider alternatives such as GPs or pharmacies.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care, meanwhile, explained what is to be done about the significant pressure.
They said: “We have set out a range of measures to help ease pressures on ambulances, including an extra £500 million to speed up discharge and free up hospital beds, reducing waits in A&E and getting ambulances back out on the road.
“This is alongside NHS plans to rapidly boost capacity and resilience ahead of winter, including increasing the number of NHS 999 and 111 call handlers and creating the equivalent of at least 7,000 more beds.”
This article was written by Jack Tooth. Jack is the reporter for The Messenger and covers anything and everything from within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford.
To contact him, email email@example.com or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.