A FORMER hospital doctor has spoken of his 'disgust' after an injured elderly woman spent several hours lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance.

Doctor John Talbot, of Battenhall, was one of a group of people who stopped to help the elderly woman after she was discovered lying semi-conscious in a city street. 

He claims she waited seven hours but ambulance bosses say it was four and a half hours before an ambulance arrived.

The 82-year-old, a retired hospital consultant, twice called 999 and blankets were brought out to make the woman as comfortable as possible during the incident on May 30.

However, he claims it was seven hours before an ambulance arrived to take her to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The ambulance service said it was four and half hours though Doctor Talbot disputes this.

He praised the paramedics, describing them as 'absolutely brilliant', and commended the ambulance service for their rapid answering of 999 calls.

But he said the woman's treatment highlighted a broader, systemic problem within the West Midlands Ambulance Service which must be urgently addressed to reduce the risk of something similar happening again.

In his 45-year career, Doctor Talbot said he had never been put in that situation.

"How she was treated disgusted and upset me. It was terrible," he said.

"After nearly two hours, nothing had changed and the lady was still lying on the pavement and I felt that we had to risk moving the lady into her house which had a very steep drive, but how to move her?

"Eventually, a neighbour found a wheelchair and I showed them how to lift the patient and with great difficulty got her into the house after her family had arrived to open the house."

He added: "The ambulance arrived about 10pm with two totally professional and caring paramedics. The lead paramedic apologised to me and said the lady should have been collected urgently after the first call.

"I am a retired hospital consultant, but I could not get the call handler to understand the seriousness of the lady's condition. I realise that it is a ‘tick box’ question and answer situation but there is no flexibility.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman apologised to the patient for the delayed response and said it has reviewed the case.

"We received a call to a patient who had fallen on Battenhall Road at 3.59pm on May 30. We received a second call at 7.35pm to chase the whereabouts of the ambulance. An ambulance arrived on scene at 8.38pm, just over four-and-a-half hours after the original call.

“There is a direct correlation between the length of time ambulances wait to handover patients at hospital and the length of time it takes to get to patients.

“Hospital handover delays are still up to three times worse than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means some patients continue to wait a very long time for ambulances to arrive.

“Before ending a 999 call, our call assessors will always give advice on how to care for the patient and inform the caller that they should re-dial 999 if the patient’s condition changes, whether for better or worse, whilst waiting for an ambulance.