Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 12:20 UK

Man's 999 wait was 'unacceptable'

Ken Lincoln
Ken Lincoln says he has not yet received an explanation about the wait

An ambulance trust has apologised for its "totally unacceptable" response time in reaching a man from Berkshire who had suffered a stroke.

Ken Lincoln, of Wokingham, was taken ill on 9 September. His wife called an out-of-hours doctor service, which in turn called for an ambulance.

But Mrs Lincoln had to call 999 a further three times before paramedics arrived, one hour and 20 minutes later.

South Central Ambulance Service said he should have been treated as a priority.

Mr Lincoln said he had not yet received an explanation about what had happened.

The stroke he suffered was mild and he has since recovered.

If we don't flag these things up, how does anybody ever get anything put right?
Ken Lincoln

Mr Lincoln said that when his wife called the out-of-hours service, they told her "immediately" they were calling for an ambulance.

"Fifteen to 20 minutes went past and no ambulance," he said.

"I had deteriorated slightly, in that my face had dropped on the left hand side, my left arm was pretty useless, and I was tending to try and fall asleep all the time."

Mrs Lincoln called the out-of-hours service again, who told her to ring 999 separately, which she did another three times.

He said no-one had explained to the couple if it had been a busy night and there were no ambulances, or whether it was a breakdown in communication.

"If we don't flag these things up, how does anybody ever get anything put right?" he said.

Case 'unusual'

A spokeswoman for the trust said: "South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust regrets the delay in reaching Mr Lincoln.

"This was a priority call and we apologise that the response time was totally unacceptable.

"Cases like this are unusual and an investigation into the incident is ongoing, once this is concluded, we will share the findings of the investigation with the patient.

Last week, the South Central Ambulance Service was branded "weak" by a health watchdog for failing to meet its target response times.

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