Stricken Leeds great grandmother, 88, thought to have suffered heart attack during four-hour 999 wait

Victoria Pape with a photograph of her grandmother Joan Mathers, 88.  Picture Bruce Rollinson.
Victoria Pape with a photograph of her grandmother Joan Mathers, 88. Picture Bruce Rollinson.
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An 88-year-old woman who has suffered a suspected minor heart attack has been left crying in pain for almost four hours as she waited for an ambulance.

Great grandmother Joan Mathers, who lives in Alwoodley, called family for help when she collapsed at home on January 3. Relatives feared she had broken her hip and called 999 at around 11.40am.

Her granddaughter Victoria Pape, from Holt Park, claims she repeatedly called for an ambulance amid fears her frail relative was in serious danger, as she had been sick and was complaining of chest and hip pains, but had to wait until around 3.30pm for her to be taken to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Mrs Mathers is still in hospital and following scans was found to have no broken bones but a cardiologist has found that she may have suffered a minor heart attack. He could not confirm exactly when it happened.

Mrs Pape, 35, believes she witnessed the heart attack.

“I honestly presumed it was when she was on the floor as she said she was having pains in her chest, that was after she had been sick,” she said.

“It was an emergency, she was on her knees at 88-years-old, we thought she had broken her hip again as it was on her left side and she couldn’t move her leg.

“It could have been really serious. Somebody’s going to die and not get the care they need because the ambulances can’t get there because of the cuts.”

After being admitted to LGI she was promptly checked over but was not given a hospital bed until around midnight – over 12 hours after the initial 999 call.

Although she said paramedics were “absolutely fantastic” when they arrived, Mrs Pape added: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting that an 88-year-old lady could be left like that.”

Last month it emerged that Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) was failing to hit Government targets to reach 75 per cent of patients thought to be in a life-threatening condition within eight minutes.

Mrs Pape’s complaint to the trust, which is experiencing demand at level five of six, comes after hospitals across the region failed to meet targets requiring them to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours.

Paul Mudd, YAS’s locality director for emergency operations in West Yorkshire, has apologised for the delay and has moved to reassure people of its main priorities of providing a safe and responsive service.

He said: “The call came in during a period of very high demand and we were doing our best to respond as quickly as possible to all patients who needed our assistance.”