[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Widower's anger over 999 'delay'
The ambulance is understood to have taken 26 minutes
A pensioner whose wife died of a heart attack has hit out after complaining he had to wait 26 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Hubert Bell, 70, tried to revive his wife Sadie, 67, when she had a heart attack and collapsed in their home in Addiewell, West Lothian.

An ambulance spokesman said Mr Bell's complaint was being investigated.

He said it appeared the three local crews in the area were all busy dealing with "life-threatening emergencies".

I would have been better putting her in the car and taking her to the hospital myself
Hubert Bell
Victim's wife

Despite Mr Bell's attempts at CPR and mouth-to-mouth, Mrs Bell was dead by the time the ambulance arrived.

Mr Bell, said: "I don't want anyone else to go through the same situation, it was a terrible thing to go through.

"With all the technology we have nowadays we should be going forwards instead of backwards. Response times should not be getting longer."

The ambulance had been transferring a patient to another hospital in Edinburgh almost 20 miles away from its base in Livingston, West Lothian on 25 March.

Three other emergency crews in the area were already on calls.

The retired Securicor driver has now lodged an official complaint.

Emergency calls

Mr Bell added: "I rushed into the kitchen and Sadie said she was feeling sick. She had a cold sweat and she couldn't move.

"I managed to get her down to the floor and I phoned for an ambulance. They said one was on its way and they talked me through CPR.

"I would have been better putting her in the car and taking her to the hospital myself."

The ambulance station at Livingston is only eight minutes away from the Bell's home, where the couple, who have four children, had lived for the past three years.

The ambulance service has a target of responding to 75% of life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes by the end of 2008, and the average response time across Scotland last month was seven minutes and 58 seconds.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "The early indications are that the three local crews in his area were all busy dealing with life-threatening emergencies, and therefore the crew retuning from Edinburgh were the nearest response."

More patients face ambulance wait
09 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Concern over ambulance responses
31 Jan 07 |  South of Scotland
Urgent call for more paramedics
23 Jan 07 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific