Woman from Abercynon offers to drive sick patients to hospital amid NHS pressures

A woman from Abercynon has offered to drive sick patients to hospital who are unable to get an ambulance as pressures on the health service continue.

Kelly Egan decided to offer her services via social media after her 93-year-old grandmother was left waiting three hours for an ambulance after suffering from chest pains.

It comes at a time when the NHS is facing sustained pressure due to "unprecedented demand" over the winter period coupled with industrial action across the health workforce.

Kelly highlighted the 'stark difference' she's experienced in ambulance waiting times between 2017 and now. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Ms Egan, has not been trained as a paramedic and accepts that her service comes with a risk.

However, she told ITV Wales that, "It's worth the risk if I can save somebody's life."

In November, ITV Wales cameras spent time with ambulance workers who spoke of a demoralised workforce as they battled with long handover delays and pressures across the service.

Since then, paramedics and other ambulance service staff have staged walkouts in England Wales in a dispute over pay, with more strikes announced for later this month.

Ambulance service staff have recently striked in Wales in a dispute over pay with more strikes announced for later this month. Credit: PA

Kelly highlighted the "stark difference" that she has experienced in ambulance waiting times between 2017 and now when she was treated for septic shock.

After an operation in 2017, Kelly developed sepsis and whilst at home, went into septic shock. The ambulance quickly arrived to take her to hospital where she was treated.

"If the ambulance hadn't arrived in 14 minutes I wouldn't be here to tell the story today," she said.

"It's so important to me now because I think if this situation happened now it's a completely different story."

Kelly experienced the "stark difference" just a few months ago when she called an ambulance for her grandmother after noticing her legs had turned black.

She later developed chest pains and Kelly said the call was escalated but was still told she could be waiting another hour.

"I was sitting there for an hour not knowing if she was having a heart attack because she was unresponsive."

Ms Egan since took to social media to offer her services to her local community asking anyone in need of emergency transportation to contact her.

"Some people don't have access to a car, some people are new to an area, so i've just left my phone number.

"If somebody needs to get to a hospital, just for people to know that there's somebody out there that can take them, I'm happy to be that person," she said.

Ms Egan said some people have told her she shouldn't have to do it but said she wants to help in any way she can. She stressed the importance however of calling 999 first in an emergency.

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

In response to Ms Egan's proposal, Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service said: "We're grateful to anyone in the community who is offering assistance to those in need.

"We would always encourage anyone who's got a serious injury or illness to call us on 999. The pressure across urgent and emergency care has been well-documented for many months now.

"That leads to delays in our emergency ambulances in handing over patients at the emergency department and our inability to respond to patients in the community which of course we are sorry for."