AN investigation has been launched into why it took an ambulance crew an hour to reach a Burnley man who believed he was having a heart attack in the street.

Damien Andrews, 39, who has previously suffered two heart attacks, dialled 999 when he suffered 'bad' chest pains outside Burnley Bus Station.

Hospital bosses confirmed that Mr Andrews had to wait just under an hour for the ambulance to arrive and they are investigating.

Mr Andrews started to feel the pains at around 8pm on Tuesday May 22, but it was nearly 9pm when paramedics arrived.

He said he was particularly anxious as he had previously suffered heart attacks in March 2010 and January 2012.

Under Government targets NWAS aim to respond to 75 per cent of calls within eight minutes, and 95 per cent of calls within 19 minutes.

But he described the wait as ‘ridiculous’ and it caused him ‘enormous distress’.

He said: “I started getting quite bad chest pains on the Tuesday so phoned 999 for an ambulance, but it took them over an hour to reach me, which is just ridiculous, I could have died.

“It is supposed to be an emergency call yet it takes them that long to reach me. It has left me incredibly angry and upset.”

Mr Andrews, who lives alone at Cronkshaw Street, Burnley, is having an angiogram fitted next month In March this year, union officials representing paramedics said some of those needing critical care in East Lancashire were left at risk because of a lack of ambulances.

Large areas including Burnley and Rossendale, were left unmanned during the weekend, it was claimed.

Staff said the area was like a ‘war zone’ because of the battle to deal with 999 calls quickly.

Unison official Craig Wilde said at times this year the service was experiencing a staffing crisis and that ‘any dip in paramedic resources is of concern’.

A second investigation concerning Mr Andrews has also been launched, after he waited from 8pm until 2am on Sunday May 27 for an ambulance to transfer him from Burnley General Hospital's Urgent Care Centre to Royal Blackburn Hospital.

A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said: “We are always concerned when patients are dissatisfied with the level of service we provide and we take all complaints very seriously.

“We have made contact with the patient and confirm a full investigation is being carried out.”