A worried dad whose baby son was screaming in pain said he was told by ambulance staff that drunk people took priority.
David Jones’ son George started rolling around in ‘absolute agony’ holding his stomach on October 14, so David called 999 about 9.40pm.
He was told paramedics were on their way but nearly four hours later got a call saying they might not arrive until the next morning.
A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) said: “We take any concerns raised seriously and we are very sorry we were unable to attend the call he made for his son within the expected timeframe.
“We have a duty to prioritise our response to life threatening calls. This means that at times of particularly high demand, lower priority calls can wait longer than we would like and sometimes have ambulances assigned to them only for them to be diverted to another call. We would invite Mr Jones to contact us directly so that we can look into and investigate his concerns in more detail.”
David, 39, who lives with his wife and son in Grafton Road, Selsey, said: “In the evening my little one started literally screaming in a really high pitched voice rolling around in absolute agony and pain grabbing his stomach.”
He said his son had ‘glazed eyes’ during the worrying episode.
After seeing no improvement for some time, accountant David called 999. “I was taken through all the questions. The lady told me I needed an ambulance.”
An ambulance was promised ‘definitely within two hours’, he said.
He settled down by the living room window to look out for the ambulance, keen to be ready instantly when it arrived.
But the hours went by and no ambulance appeared. At 1.15am – nearly four hours later – the phone rang.
David said: “It’s the ambulance control centre. They said that due to it being incredibly busy they were going to be two hours more or longer.”
He was warned that the ambulance might not even arrive until the morning.
David said when he asked the reason for the delay, he was told: “There are drunk people on the streets that are unconscious that require picking up and they rank higher.”
At this point George had calmed down and managed to fall asleep, so David told the ambulance not to come, keen for his son to get some sleep.
David said: “Touch wood he seems unhurt, but that’s not the point.”
Sharing his story online, David said he was shocked at how people responded with similar stories of their own.