A PATIENT was forced to wait more than five hours for an ambulance which arrived with “East Midlands” written on the side.

The Leigh resident, aged in her 80s, was diagnosed with sepsis once she arrived at hospital and ended up spending a week receiving care.

A spokesman for the ambulance service has apologised for the long wait, which the patient claimed was actually more eight hours.

The spokesman said the service was very sorry, but insisted the wait was closer to five hours but accepted it should have been dealt within two hours.

The patient said: “I was feeling extremely unwell on November 2 and had fallen indoors and was worse on November 3, feeling a lot of stomach pains.

“I couldn’t get up from the settee and rang 999 for an ambulance. My husband and I are both in our 80s. He fell asleep waiting and I was semi-conscious.

“We were awoken by flashing lights outside and found the ambulance had arrived. It was from the East Midlands.

“They were thoroughly efficient once they arrived and diagnosed sepsis. They warned Southend Hospital that they were on their way. They didn’t know the area at all but relied on sat nav.”

Although it was an East Midlands Ambulance that attended the woman’s home, in Sandleigh Road, the ambulance service insisted the ambulance and crew were based locally.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “We were called at 3.54pm on Sunday, November 3 with reports of a person experiencing abdominal pain in Sandleigh Road, Leigh.

“At 4.57pm a member of our emergency clinical advice and triage centre called the patient to see how she was and discuss her symptoms.

“We sent one ambulance, which arrived at 9.07pm, and took a woman to Southend University Hospital for further care.

“This ambulance was one of our Private Ambulance Service (PAS) vehicles. The company is based in the Midlands; however, the crews are based nearby when working with the East of England Ambulance Service. This ambulance remained in Essex throughout the day.

“This call was categorised as a C3. These types of calls will be responded to at least nine out of 10 times within 120 minutes.

“We apologise for any distress the patient may have experienced while waiting for an ambulance.”