Elderly man lay injured in Neath street for three hours before ambulance arrived
AN elderly man was left laying helplessly in the street for three hours after falling in Neath town centre.
He had suffered suspected broken bones in his leg and could not be moved.
The weather was poor and police officers stayed with him to make him as warm and comfortable as possible until an ambulance finally arrived.
It happened in the week that the Welsh Ambulance Service failed to hit the all-Wales target for the seventh successive month — with the situation worst in Neath Port Talbot.
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The man fell near Victoria Gardens. One passer-by, who did not want to be named, said: "He had collapsed in the street.
"The man was obviously in a lot of discomfort but there was a problem getting him to hospital by ambulance.
"He obviously couldn't be moved but the weather was really bad.
"The police were with him the whole time. They had him wrapped up in coats and whatnot, trying to keep him warm and dry.
"But the ambulance didn't show up for hours. It was disgraceful.
"You cannot blame the paramedics because they work flat out. But there is something wrong with the system."
Inspector Huw Griffiths, head of the Neath and Pontardawe police sector, confirmed officers attended the scene on Wednesday and called an ambulance at 5.15pm.
However, he said, the ambulance did not arrive until around three hours later.
"Officers remained with the elderly man, who had fallen and was believed to have broken bones in his leg," he said.
"Officers remained with him and did what they could to keep him as warm and comfortable as possible despite the weather, which was appalling.
"I was very pleased with the public-spirited way my officers dealt with the situation."
Welsh Government targets require the ambulance service to respond to 65 per cent of category A calls within eight minutes.
Latest findings show the target was missed again, with only 56.1 per cent of calls handled within that time.
Neath Port Talbot fared the worst, at 47.3 per cent.
Ambulance service officials could not be contacted over the Neath incident.
However, a spokesman has said there had been significant pressures caused by winter- related illnesses.
He said the service was firmly committed to delivering the improvement aims of its Working Together For Success modernisation programme.