OAP left to freeze on the street

A PORTISHEAD pensioner was forced to lie on a cold and wet pavement for more than half an hour while she waited for an ambulance

A PORTISHEAD pensioner was forced to lie on a cold and wet pavement for more than half an hour while she waited for an ambulance.Hilary Hazelton, aged 65, had fallen over outside Rontos where she works last Saturday morning while trying to pull out the store's awning.The pole she was using slipped free, leaving Hilary to fall flat on her back on the pavement in the cold and driving rain.Because of a potential injury to her back, she was told to lie still while fellow workers called for an ambulance.Thirty five minutes and half a dozen calls to the emergency service later, paramedics arrived, who told a terrified Mrs Hazelton she was on the verge of hypothermia.Hilary was then taken to Frenchay Hospital for treatment, which revealed she had injured her shoulder and compressed a disk in her spine.Hilary said: "I am disgusted it took the ambulance service so long to arrive."Two women who work in Boots rang twice as did my colleagues from Rontos, who were told the ambulance was on its way."My husband Ron also rang demanding to know when help would arrive."Mrs Hazelton said workers in neighbouring stores rallied round and provided her with blankets and coats to lay over her to keep her warm.One man even held an umbrella over her for the whole 35 minutes until help arrived.She added: "Luckily I am quite fit, but if had been an elderly or ill person in my position, then I doubt they would have survived."I am absolutely disgusted it took the ambulance so long to arrive as I understand they are supposed to be there within eight minutes."It was a horrible experience and I think something urgent needs to be done to speed up response times."The first 999 call was made at 10.02am with paramedics eventually arriving at 10.37am.Under Government rules calls of category A - where there is an immediate threat to life - have to be answered within eight minutes.But if the call is graded as a category C then paramedics need to be on scene within an hour or arrange an alternative response.A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance Trust said: "We provide the first available ambulance and have to attend the most serious complaints as priority."We categorise a call based on the information given by the caller."We apologise if we don't get to casualties as quickly as our patients would like."Pictured: Hilary Hazelton recovers at home with her husband Ron.