Heart attack patient rushed to surgery after waiting hours for West Midlands ambulance

ITV News Central Correspondent Mark Gough reports on the ambulance waiting times people have had to face in the West Midlands

A man from Shropshire had to endure waiting more than four hours for hospital treatment after he suffered a heart attack.

John Williams, first dialled 111 from his home in Chelmarsh, near Bridge North in Shropshire at 11:03 am after experiencing severe chest pains.

The waiting time for patients who are experiencing a heart attack should be no more than 18 minutes, according to the NHS.

For Mr Williams, controllers couldn't say when they would be able to get an ambulance to him.

Timeline: How it took five hours to get treatment for heart attack

11:03 am

John dialled 111, who transferred him to the ambulance service minutes later.

11:53 am

Ambulance controllers advised his partner, Alison, to take him to the nearest hospital - Bridgenorth Community Hospital.

However, on arrival, they realised they didn't have the facilities to treat John, as it was only a minor injuries unit and Mr Williams needed emergency surgery.

12.12 pm

Staff at the hospital called ambulance services to get John transferred to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.


Three hours later, the ambulance arrived and decided that he needed to instead go to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.


Mr Williams arrived at the hospital - more than five hours after his original call and was rushed into theatre for emergency heart surgery.

In June, new figures revealed ambulance response times have significantly worsened as the NHS faces "huge pressure" across the country.

It revealed ambulances took an average of 51 minutes and 38 seconds to respond to emergency calls such as heart attacks and strokes.

West Midlands Ambulance Service believes 68 people have died because an ambulance couldn't respond quick enough.

Mr Williams said he doesn't know the full extent of damage to his heart caused by hours of waiting.

Mr Williams told ITV News Central: "With a myocardial infarction time is a factor, so the quicker you can get to hospital and have the operation done, the less damage is done to your heart."

"What I don't know is how much additional damage has been caused by the fact it was seven hours before the symptoms coming on and me actually getting to hospital."

He said: "When they found out how long I'd been waiting they were absolutely furious they had not been called in sooner.

"I mean obviously I don't know what they were doing earlier on in the day, they just go from one job to the next, but when they found out how long it had taken, they really weren't happy at all, either of them."

In a statement, West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "The length of time taken to respond to you is deeply upsetting and is not the level of service the trust wants to deliver."

"However, the volume of hospital handover delays currently being experienced everyday across the region means that the trust is unable to respond to the patients in a timely manner because the crews are delayed in handing over care of their patients to the staff at the hospitals."