A pensioner waited in agony for more than four hours before an ambulance arrived at her Stratton home.

Barbara James’ hip popped out when she fell at around 10.30pm on one recent evening. Homeline arrived half an hour later but were afraid to move her, so they called 999.

Her friend David Carthew made her as comfortable as possible while she waited another four hours for the emergency service vehicle to turn up.

The 75-year-old wants more to be done to speed up response times so that no-one else goes through a similar ordeal.

She said: “It was scary, I was beginning to think no-one would come, I felt like a nuisance, it was cold, and my hip was so painful.

“Normally I’m very understanding but this is not acceptable, I’m very upset and angry.

“I paid my tax and national insurance all my life but it’s like that meant nothing.

“The paramedics were very good, they helped me back into bed. I didn’t want to go to hospital in case I had to wait even longer in A&E.”

Barbara stayed with Dave for a few days to settle and book check-ups for her joints, but fears that history may repeat itself when she returns home.

She added: “I feel very fragile - every time I bend down, I worry about falling again.

“I complained to NHS England, who told me to contact GWH, who told me to contact NHS England, everyone’s passing the buck.”

David added: “I think the NHS is mismanaged. The bosses are on six-figure salaries but that money should be spent on beds, medics and ambulances. They are not doing their jobs properly."

A South West Ambulance Service Trust spokesman said the first call came in at 11.32pm and they arrived at 3.41am, adding: "We are sorry that we were unable to provide a timely response to Ms James.

“Any occasion where the care we provide falls below the high standards our patients deserve and rightly expect is unacceptable.

“Handover delays at emergency departments remain our single biggest challenge. To ensure our ambulances are available to attend the next emergency call within the community, we need to be able to hand patients over within the 15-minute national target.

“Health and social care services are under enormous pressure. We are working with our partners in the NHS and social care, to do all we can to improve the service that patients receive.”

Barbara contacted South Swindon’s MP and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the area to raise awareness of the issue.

Robert Buckland said: “I was shocked to hear of this case after speaking to Barbara. I have made representations to the Department for Health and Social Care.

“Waiting times of this length are not acceptable and I hope that lessons can be learnt learn from this incident.”

Heidi Alexander wrote to the chair of the South Western Ambulance Trust, Dr John Martin, about this.

She added: “Barbara’s experience is sadly all too common. People in Swindon shouldn’t have to wait in pain for ambulances that take hours to arrive.

“The entire NHS system is gummed up. Paramedics told me they’ve spent their shift stuck outside A&E with patients because the A&E is overwhelmed.

“This stops them responding to the next call that comes in. A&E staff can’t get people onto the wards because they are also full - often with people well enough to be discharged but stuck there because of inadequate social care arrangements.

“It’s an awful chain reaction, culminating with people lying on the floor for hours in pain.

“We need a total change of approach. Sadly, ambulance response times have got worse under this government. There are constant promises from ministers, but we’ve been going backwards.”