Severely disabled man waited six hours for ambulance while stuck on floor thinking 'nobody cared'

Due to nerve damage and loss of feeling in his ankles, David Steele from Birmingham is not able to get himself back up when he falls. Credit: PA / LDRS

A man from Birmingham with severe disabilities waited more than six hours for an ambulance while stuck on the floor after a fall at home.

David Steele has a pendant alarm to contact emergency services, but in December he was left waiting until nearly 1am for paramedics to arrive.

The 62-year-old has suffered over 120 falls since being left with life changing injuries in 2009 after undergoing neck surgery.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) says "the whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure", which has led to long hospital handover delays.

The delays at hospitals has a knock on effect on ambulance waiting times, because vehicles are held up, WMAS said.

Due to nerve damage and loss of feeling in his ankles - Mr Steele is not able to get himself back up when he falls.

On December 10, Mr Steele called for help at around 6.30pm after a fall at his home in Holloway Head, Birmingham.

The paramedics did not arrive until 12.48am and were able to get him back on his feet.

Mr Steele, a former school caretaker, said: "I have trouble with the nerves in my ankles and lower back and occasionally they will switch off without warning.

"I lost the feeling in my ankles and lost balance which meant I fell on the floor.

"I used my pendant alarm. They answered me and said 'were you seriously hurt?' and I said no. I was waiting until 1am for the ambulance to turn up, which is six-and-a-half hours.

"Luckily I could reach my urine bottle, otherwise I would have peed myself to the tune of one litre, which is what I did in the bottle while waiting.

"I am so terrified of falling because I don't know when I am going to fall, and I don't know when I am going to get help. Because of being left so long, I got in my head that nobody cared and nobody was coming and started having panic attacks."

Mr Steele suggested St John Ambulance could take patients in lower category cases to take pressure off the ambulances.

The ambulance service says problems with waiting times stemmed from long hospital handover delays while the NHS is under "severe pressure." Credit: PA

A WMAS spokesperson said the call was marked as category 3, which is the second lowest priority.

They said: "The whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure and unfortunately, long hospital handover delays on the day meant some of our patients waited longer for an ambulance to come to them in the community than we would want.

"We are working with all local partners across the health and care system to reduce delays so crews can respond to the next incident as quickly as possible.

"We would like to apologise to Mr Steele for the time it took to reach him. Our staff are working tirelessly to respond to patients as soon as we can."