Anguish over long wait for ambulance

Joyce Parkinson, whose husband Tony subsequently died of pneumonia
Joyce Parkinson, whose husband Tony subsequently died of pneumonia
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A GRIEVING widow today demanded answers after her terminally ill husband was left waiting five hours for an ambulance.

Joyce Parkinson, of North Shore, said her partner Tony – a former veteran and Paralympian – was “pushed to one side” by the ambulance service, despite his doctor’s instruction for a pick-up to arrive within two hours.

She wrote to health bosses to complain, who told her the delays had been caused as the emergency department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital had been “extremely busy” that day.

But she did not feel the explanation was satisfactory.

Now, the ambulance service has agreed to meet Mrs Parkinson to look into her complaint further.

The 77-year-old, of Argyle Road, said: “My husband was a war pensioner who lost his sight defending his country, but in the end it was a service of the country that let him down.

“I was busy trying to make Tony comfortable and help him the best I could. I phoned them again after the doctor had. They said they would be sending an ambulance in due course.”

Mr Parkinson, who was blind and being treated for terminal cancer, was taken ill on March 9 and a doctor who visited him at home diagnosed pneumonia and rang for an ambulance, passing on instructions that transport should be there within two hours.

The 77-year-old was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital five hours later in a St John Ambulance, and died shortly afterwards.

Mrs Parkinson added: “He was pushed aside and a St John Ambulance sent. I heard the doctor tell them to be here within two hours.

“We were only a 10-minute drive from the hospital.

“My husband deserved better. There is no closure until I have answers.”

Mrs Parkinson said she felt compelled to contact The Gazette after reading, last week, about hotelier David Taylor, who had to wait almost four hours after breaking his leg. Again this was due to the ambulance service being busy.

Mr Parkinson lost his sight while serving in the Armed Forces and was suffering with multiple myeloma.

In 1976 he represented Britain in javelin, discus and shotput in the Paralympics.

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We received a complaint from Mrs Parkinson which we duly investigated and reported back our findings. We are concerned Mrs Parkinson is unhappy with the explanation of events, and we have made contact with her to arrange a meeting to discuss the matter further.”