A DISABLED woman who was lying injured in the road waited 90 minutes for an ambulance after falling from her wheelchair.
Marion Parfitt, who has multiple sclerosis, was left covered in blood and in pain as she and her husband waited for help to arrive.
The 67-year-old is now waiting to hear if she will need plastic surgery to help her serious facial injuries heal.
A spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said other cases had to be prioritised on the afternoon of Mrs Parfitt’s accident as they were considered to be more serious.
But a health chief branded the wait as ‘totally unacceptable’ and said he would be writing to the organisation to demand an investigation.
Mrs Parfitt’s husband Bernard said he thought the way the Sabden couple’s case was handled was ‘disgusting’.
He said: “It is not acceptable for anybody to be laid in the road for 90 minutes. It is a ridiculous response.
“Marion was in pain and her face took most of the force.
“She cannot walk and we could not move her as we did not know if she had any broken bones.”
The couple, of Pendleside Close, had been in Clitheroe so Mrs Parfitt, who has been confined to a wheelchair for 34 years, could go to the hairdressers.
As Mr Parfitt pushed her chair along Wellgate, he realised her headrest was still attached, which he decided to take off to make having his wife’s hair cut easier.
When he stopped, he said he thought he had put the brakes on properly, but that one must have been loose.
Mr Parfitt, who was given Maundy Money by the Queen at Blackburn Cathedral in April for his volunteer work at Sabden’s St Nicholas Church, said: “The wheelchair turned and threw her out into the middle of the road.
“We called for an ambulance straight away at 2.40pm, but it did not come until 4.10pm.”
The road was shut by police to avoid any other accidents happening in the town centre.
Retired nurse Mr Parfitt continued: “It was chaotic for a couple of hours because the cars could not get past Marion in the road.
“The cafes and shops were all fantastic and people brought us a brew out.
“Marion only wanted water because she felt sickly.
“When they arrived, the ambulance guys were lovely. They said they came as soon as they got the call.
“I do not think it was their fault, it was the powers that be.”
It is understood Mrs Parfitt’s case was considered to be a green two call, which means according to NWAS procedure, an ambulance should have been with her within 20 to 30 minutes.
Red one and two calls, which are when a patient is in cardiac arrest or not breathing, must have a paramedic with them within eight minutes.
Mrs Parfitt was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital after the accident on Friday and an appointment has been arranged for her to see specialists at Royal Preston Hospital, who will determine if she needs a skin graft for her facial injuries.
An NWAS spokeswoman said: “We understand that waiting for an ambulance can be distressing for the patient and their family and we are sorry that in this instance, the patient's family is not happy with the service received.
“When received, all 999 calls are categorised within the control rooms, based on the information given by the caller, to ensure patients are assessed on the basis of their medical need, with those with life-threatening conditions taking priority.
“Although the service strives to attend to every patient as quickly as possible, periods of high activity can cause delays for some.
“If the family would like to discuss this incident with us, we would urge them to contact us directly so we can respond to their concerns.”
Coun Azhar Ali, health chief at Lancashire County Council, said the apology was welcome, but that it did not go far enough.
He said: “I am going to write to NWAS asking for an investigation into what happened.
“Nobody who dials 999 should have to wait 90 minutes, especially not someone with multiple sclerosis who was lying in the middle of the road and who had sustained injuries.
“She deserved far, far better. It was not good enough.
“NWAS has been hit by massive cuts from the government, but despite that, these sort of incidents need instant responses.
“People need to have confidence in the ambulance service, but it ends up being shattered when you hear about incidents like this.
“I will be pushing NWAS and the local clinical commissioning group to find out exactly what went on.”