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WALES: 999 delay could have killed me; Heart patient's agonising 45min wait MORE AMBULANCE SHAME.

Byline: By HYWEL TREWYN

A HEART patient claims he waited 45 minutes for an ambulance after a 999 call - the third example in a week of the emergency service failing to reach sick patients within the eight minute target.

Griffith Williams, 63, of Chwilog, Pwllheli is the latest patient to highlight slow response times.

On Tuesday we reported how Blaenau Ffestiniog man Desmond Langford, 64, died of bronchopneumonia as he waited 22 minutes for an ambulance.

Last week we told how Edna Jones, 64, died waiting 29 minutes for an ambulance after she had a heart attack in the Gwynedd town on July 8.

NHS targets state ambulances should take no longer than eight minutes to reach calls for life threatening conditions.

Mr Williams had already suffered three heart attacks, is asthmatic and a diabetic.

Last Thursday he became breathless and pressed an emergency button for help at 11.12pm.

Former builder Mr Williams said: "I couldn't get my breath. My lungs and heart were overworked and the airways weren't clear enough.

I thought I'd get a local ambulance but there wasn't one available in Pwllheli, Porthmadog or Caernarfon.

"They sent a blue-light ambulance from Bangor.

"I gave them my address and said I lived in one of the three bungalows not far from the graveyard. They said my home wasn't on the map!"

Mr Williams claims a first response - or car with a single paramedic/driver - wasn't sent and the ambulance, from Bangor, arrived at 11.55pm.

He was treated with oxygen for his asthma and his heart was checked with a monitor which showed his heartbeat was "irregular."

A letter to Mr Williams from Welsh Ambulance Services Trust (Wast) complaints and investigating officer Catherine Punyer said they "very much regret the distress caused" by the delay and that she had asked for "a full investigation." Mr Williams said: "The public should be told about the delays.

It happens everywhere - not just Blaenau Ffestiniog."

A statement yesterday from Wast read: "The Trustwould also welcome the opportunity to meet with a patient to discuss their concerns and explain how our service operates.

"The Trust is examining the deployment of all resources in South Gwynedd and has arranged to meet with a group of North West Wales politicians today to discuss issues.

"Overall performance in Gwynedd has improved but the Trust recognises the need to further improve."

hyweltrewyn@dailypost.co.uk

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Griffith Williams,63, is the third 999 delay case in a week we've reported Picture: JEFF PITT
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 31, 2008
Words:419
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