A pensioner who slipped on wet grass and fractured his pelvis while walking home had to wait up to six hours for an ambulance and then another five hours outside the hospital before being seen.
Tom Parry, 73, had been carrying out volunteer work on December 4, and was walking back home shortly before 2pm when he fell.
A passerby who witnessed the fall drove over and put the back of his car down for Mr Parry to lean on before contacting the ambulance service.
A friend of Mr Parry called the local lifeboat station for advice and was told that the team would be there to help.
Within 10 minutes of making the phone call, around 10 RNLI volunteers were at the scene assisting Mr Parry, who by this point was in and out of consciousness because of the pain.
Mr Parry, a retired painter and decorator, said: “I don’t really know what happened. I just slipped.
“The RNLI lads managed to get me onto a bodyboard and moved me inside the clubhouse. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t come to help me.
“It was freezing but locals heard what had happened and one person kept bringing me hot water bottles.
“I don’t remember in detail what happened because I was dazed, but I know how well the RNLI boys were treating me. They were amazing.”
Mr Parry said the ambulance service was in regular contact with those helping him to make sure that his situation hadn’t worsened and after three hours he was moved from a “yellow” alert to an “amber” alert in terms of seriousness.
Mr Parry said the ambulance arrived at around 7.45pm but, when they arrived at Ysbyty Gwynedd, they had several other ambulances in front of them.
He added: “They were brilliant with me. I can’t fault them at all.
“We had to wait until it was around 2.30am before I could go in, but they were checking on me regularly.
“It’s not their fault that I had to wait, it’s just how things are with staffing levels and Covid on top of that.”
Having been admitted to hospital, doctors discovered that Mr Parry had split his groin, fractured his pelvis and torn the ligaments in his left arm and leg.
After two days in A&E he was moved on to a ward where he spent another eight days.
More scans revealed that Mr Parry had bleeding behind his pelvis and he had to be closely monitored for 24 hours due to the risks associated with his injuries.
He said: “The pain was terrible. It was just horrendous.
“I couldn’t move for six days and every time I did I was screaming in pain, but the nurses and doctors were incredible. I’m so grateful.
“They are all doing what they can with what they have and no part of me feels at all let down by the service.”
Mr Parry was discharged from the hospital after 10 days but is still recovering from his injuries and cannot walk unaided.
He said: “I have to use both crutches still but I’m walking much better than I was.
“I’ve always been quite an active person but that has made me nervous, and I know I’ll be worried about walking on grass in case it happens again.”
Liz Wedley, Head of Service (Emergency Medical Services) for the Welsh Ambulance Service in North Wales, said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Parry experienced a longer than expected wait for an ambulance after his fall.
“On the day in question, we were experiencing very high call volume and demand for our services in the Gwynedd area.
“This, combined with many of our ambulances waiting outside hospitals across the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area that afternoon, led to the delay in us arriving on scene.
“We would like to extend our thanks to the RNLI staff and off-duty police officer who came to assist Mr Parry and kept him comfortable.
“We wish Mr Parry all the best for a continued recovery from his injuries and would invite him to contact us directly should he wish to discuss our response further.”
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