AN ELDERLY Dinas Powys resident’s 18-hour wait for an ambulance has been described as “completely unacceptable” by South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies.

Hugh Mackie, a 68-year-old man who suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is also registered as disabled, requested an ambulance at 3.20pm on Friday, February 23 after reporting difficulties breathing.

But he was left waiting all night for emergency services to arrive, before eventually being attended to at just after 9.30am the following morning.

Mr Mackie described the situation as being “absolutely ridiculous” – and his treatment as “horrendous.”

While accepting that the cold weather had caused considerable pressures on the health service, Mr Davies suggested Mr Mackie’s experience would be a familiar oneto many.

Mr Davies added that the Welsh Government had an appalling record on ambulance response times.

He claimed changes to the way response times are measured amounted to “moving the goalposts” – and had only encouraged situations like Mr Mackie’s to occur.

Mr Davies said: “The Welsh Government’s approach to ambulance response times has been nothing short of scandalous – and they are more interested in avoiding criticism rather than meeting patients’ needs.

“It goes without saying that Mr Mackie’s situation was completely unacceptable – having to wait almost 20 hours for an ambulance to arrive.

“This amounted to an overnight wait for someone who is elderly and registered disabled and is simply not good enough.

“The cold weather has of course impacted on our health services – but the Welsh Government need to face up and get a grip of the situation so incidents like Mr Mackie’s do not occur in future.”

Greg Lloyd, operations manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We’re sincerely sorry to Mr Mackie as we appreciate how distressing this wait must have been for him.

“Handover delays represent a poor experience for our patients and staff, as well as compounding the risks to patients in the community who may need our care.

“We regret the impact this has on patients like Mr Mackie, and the challenges this poses for frontline staff who are unable to be released to help others in the community.”