A Knott End grandma was forced to endure agonising pain and freezing winds during a three-hour wait for an ambulance after falling and tearing a tendon in her leg.
Joyce Blagbrough, 71, was walking her pet Jack Russell Bonnie along Knott End seafront at around 11.30am on Tuesday when she slipped on a patch of mud and fell, badly hurting her left leg.
Joyce said: “My foot slipped and it twisted right underneath. When I was down, I just couldn’t move.”
Fearing her leg was broken, the grandma of six lay helpless for 15 minutes until she was found by a passer-by, who approached the nearby home of retired teacher Anne Ranker, 65, who called 999 at 11.46am
It took paramedics more than three hours to arrive at the scene, at 2.55pm.
Anne and her husband used blankets, tea and hot water bottles in an attempt to keep Joyce warm in 7C weather and winds of up to 26mph. Joyce, a retired nurse, said: “If not for them, the length of time that I waited I could have got hypothermia. I was in a lot of pain and shivering.”
Anne said: “It was an absolute ordeal. In the last hour she was very distressed and crying. We felt so helpless.
“I knew there were (NHS) cuts but I had no idea it was that bad. We rang them several times.
“They are so stretched. You can’t call it an emergency service if it takes over three hours to get there.”
Knott End MP Cat Smith said: “I feel so sorry for Joyce and the terrible pain she was forced to endure for so long. The Government is neglecting to put enough investment into the NHS, which is causing events such as this to occur throughout the country, on a daily basis. I will continue to fight for an effective NHS in Parliament, and do everything I can to secure long term funding for our ambulance services.”
A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We aim to respond to these types of incidents within two hours however we were extremely busy at the time of the call with all available resources dealing with other emergencies.
“We do our best to get to all of our patients as quickly as possible but unfortunately due to extremely high demand we must prioritise ... to make sure that we get to immediately life-threatening emergencies straight away.”