A frail pensioner was forced to wait for three hours in the freezing cold for an ambulance to arrive after he slipped and broke his ankle.
Michael Wilczynski, 71, was going to check on a neighbour when he slipped on ice outside his home in Edinburgh yesterday and was left lying in agony on the ground.
His wife Patricia, 72, desperately called paramedics for help 12 times after being told not to move him while neighbours brought blankets, an umbrella and cups of tea.
The retired civil servant’s daughter Sara Wilczynska, 34, drove from work to be by her father’s side and described the situation as “a disgrace”.
“It is absolutely shocking, he was lying out there covered by blankets, umbrellas; we were having to bring him hot water bottles and cups of tea to keep him warm, but he had no pain relief for hours.
“Instead, he was left to sit on the pavement in the cold, in the pouring rain, he could have caught hypothermia or anything – it is a terrible way to treat anyone, let alone someone who is in their seventies.
“We could see he was in pain, he told us that, but there wasn’t much we could do because we were told not to move him or give him any kind of painkiller.”
Michael had initially been spotted on the ground by neighbours, who quickly alerted emergency services to his condition.
One resident on the street, who asked not to be named, said she was “hugely concerned” about leaving Michael in the “Baltic” temperatures.
“At one point, there were about a dozen of us standing around him, trying to do our best to help, but we were getting conflicting advice.
“We just didn’t know what to do and the ambulance crews seemed to be taking forever to arrive – it was just a shock.”
Michael was finally taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary – more than three hours after his fall – where he was confirmed to have a badly broken ankle.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said:
“The service was experiencing an exceptionally high, out of the ordinary, level of demand in Edinburgh and across Scotland on Thursday, December 14, and we would like to apologise to the patient for the lengthy delay.
“All 999 calls are prioritised to ensure the sickest and most seriously injured patients, including those with immediately life-threatening conditions, are given the highest priority.
“We would ask members of the public to take care when out in icy conditions and only call 999 in genuine emergencies.”