A pensioner suffering a suspected heart attack has spoken of his shock that ambulance medics spent half-an-hour ringing round A&Es to find out where to take him.
David Woodhead, 73, a well known former pub landlord, says the ambulance he was put in waited for half-an-hour outside his house before he was taken to hospital.
He says the medics were forced to ring emergency departments three times before they could find one to take him to.
And he claims the ambulance crew were “tearing their hair out” trying to get the go ahead to transport him for life-saving care.
Now recovering at home, he has criticised the lengths that the paramedic had to go to to get him a bed.
“The ambulance situation was ghastly,” he said. “I could have died in the back of an ambulance outside my house.”
Mr Woodhead’s ordeal began when he suddenly began to have heart problems at his Honley home on December 15.
His wife Beth rang 999 and an ambulance arrived in about 20 minutes.
Medics performed tests and he was told he could be having a heart attack.
He said: “They strapped me into a chair and got me into the ambulance and then the paramedics were having a conversation saying they would have to go with the new protocols.
“They rang Huddersfield and were told I was not suitable.
“They then rang Calderdale and were again told I wasn’t suitable for there either and to ring Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).
“They rang LGI and after a long conversation they told them to insist on taking me to Calderdale.
“All the while, I’m lying there thinking I’m having a heart attack.
“My wife is getting incredibly stressed and the paramedics are tearing their hair out.
“It was about 35 minutes I was laid in an ambulance outside my own home before we even set off.”
A Kirklees based paramedic source has told the Examiner that staff often have long waits for permission to attend an A&E.
They have also revealed that staff in rapid response cars frequently have long waits for an ambulance to arrive – with one recent accident victim in Huddersfield suffering a two-hour delay in sub-zero conditions at the roadside.
The source said: “It ended up with us taking the patient to Huddersfield A&E in a police van as the nearest available ambulance was at Pinderfields.”
Mr Woodhead said the care he received from the ambulance personnel and staff at Calderdale Royal was excellent but he was furious about the bureaucracy that had kept him waiting.
“It’s a total and utter disgrace,” he added.
“For the paramedics to have to go through that because of someone who’s never been on the front line is horrendous.
“I could have died.
“I’m very upset about these protocols and how they want to mess about the people who are actually having to do the job.”
Mr Woodhead, a director at the Woodman Inn at Thunderbridge, is now facing further tests after four days of care at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service said: “We are sorry to learn that Mr Woodhead has concerns about the response to this incident. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter directly with him and ask that he contacts our Patient Relations Team on 0345 122 0535.”
Dr Mark Davies, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical lead for emergency care, said: “We sorry to hear there are concerns about Mr Woodhead’s transport to CRH.
“We would be happy to speak with to Mr Woodhead should he wish to discuss his concerns directly with us.
“We are pleased to hear he was happy with the care he received during his stay with us.”