'Politicians and hospitals to blame' for ambulance delay
A RETIRED ambulance technician has said the service is not to blame for the delay where a footballer was left lying paralysed on the ground for nearly 40 minutes.
Colin Wray said it was the fault of politicians and the hospitals if there were delays — and that ambulance crews risk their own lives to do a difficult job.
"I think it's unfair to blame the ambulance service," said Mr Wray from Llanfynydd, near Llandeilo.
The Journal reported last week on Grant Tolchard, from Carmarthen, who was injured in a freak accident on the football pitch.
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He was left paralysed, lying on the pitch at Abergwili while an ambulance raced from Whitland.
It took 38 minutes to reach him and then take him less than a mile to Glangwili Hospital.
Mr Tolchard regained the use of his arms and legs after treatment. He may have to have an operation for two slipped discs in his neck.
Speaking to the Journal this week, Mr Wray, who used to work on ambulances in England for 29 years before retiring to West Wales, said: "It's no good just saying it's the ambulance's fault.
"If there's an ambulance station in the road — that's not the point if there's no ambulance there.
"It makes me cross for people to just blame the ambulance service.
"You can make the comment, yes, he should not have had to wait that long — but who is going to take the blame?"
He said it was the closure of accident and emergency departments and the lack of funding from politicians that are the cause of the problem.
The Wales Ambulance Service said previously that it regretted the delay in reaching Mr Tolchard.
Welsh Government spokeswoman Rebekah Tune said it was understood there are problems in rural areas with ambulances reaching patients within its eight-minute target.
She added: "While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we recognise there are challenges.
"It is clear that such places require special consideration given the challenges faced in providing public services across large rural areas, where it is extremely difficult to predict accurately where and when ambulance services will be required."
She said Local Health Boards must work with the Wales Ambulance Service Trust
Hywel Dda spokeswoman Yvonne Burson said it does work closely with the ambulance Trust to ensure a safe transfer of patients into hospital.