AN ELDERLY woman says she was left waiting for an ambulance in the rain for over two hours.

Slyvia Bates, 80, fell on a step last week while returning her wheelchair to her garden shed.

Her son Stephen Bates said he was not able to lift his mother and had to cover her with sheets and blankets while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Mr Bates praised paramedics but submitted a complaint arguing that his mother should have been made a priority because she was diabetic and outside in the rain.

Mrs Bates, who lives in Sackville Road, Hove, said: “I was soaking wet. I was worried the ambulance wouldn’t come.

“I was ringing from head to foot. I’ve got a bump as big as an ostrich egg and a big graze down my side where I must have fallen on the concrete.

“The marks from the rain are still on my glasses.

“It’s not the ambulance crew’s fault. It’s the slow response from the call centre. I mean no disrespect to the ambulance crew because they were so lovely.”

Paramedics said Mrs Bates did not need to be taken to hospital, and South East Coast Ambulance service explained she was placed in a category of emergency calls with a longer response time. The service said nationally, ambulance crews aim to reach 90 per cent of calls in this lower priority class – category three – within two hours.

But Mr Bates said he was frustrated with the delay.

He said: “I called an ambulance at 20.36pm and again at 22.10pm as we still hadn’t heard anything back from them.

“It was raining really hard and my mother was left in a puddle until 22.50pm when they eventually arrived.

“She was left for two and a half hours in the cold and wet.

“The call handler said she wasn’t a priority and that she would have to wait for an ambulance.

“I think it’s so disgusting that they left my 80-year-old mum for that long and in that weather.”

The most recent NHS report found the length of national ambulance response times has grown since last month. The number of visits to A&E is rising, and the NHS Support Federation said the ambulance service is overstretched due to cuts across the health service.

The ambulance service said it was investigating Mrs Bates’ case. A member of staff told Mr Bates: “I was sorry to learn of your experience yesterday when your mother needed our help.”

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We take any concerns raised seriously and we are very sorry when it takes us longer than we would want to attend a call.

“Having recently been contacted by Mr Bates we are looking into his concerns before responding to him directly. We appreciate that his mother would have been uncomfortable and in pain and we wish her a good recovery.”

The service’s record of Mr Bates’ complaint reads: “Mr Stephen Bates rang this morning to complain about the delay in an ambulance arriving to attend his elderly mother who had fallen.

“He said that he was “disgusted” at the service they received.

“Mr Bates told me that his mother, who is diabetic, slipped outside and he rang for an ambulance but it was 2.5 hours before it arrived.

“Mr Bates said that it was raining and he covered his mother up with sheets and blankets. Mr Bates believes that as his mother is diabetic and was outside in the rain, she should have been made a priority.

“Mr Bates also wished to raise a compliment about the crew who attended.”