A 62-YEAR-OLD Llanwrda man has labelled Hywel Dda health board “a Third World organisation” after he was told to walk the 23 miles home at 2am on New Year’s Day – despite being diagnosed with a chest infection.

Peter Rees, of Bro Dawel, was taken to West Wales General Hospital, Carmarthen, by ambulance at 9pm on December 31 suffering bouts of “uncontrollable coughing”.

Blood tests and X-rays saw Mr Rees prescribed antibiotics and discharged at 2am.

“I was taken in by ambulance so my wallet was at home,” said Mr Rees.

“When I explained that I lived 23 miles away and had no way to get home, the sister told me to walk.

“When I said I couldn’t believe what was happening, she said I was being violent.

“I was very tired, but I didn’t raise my voice or swear. I was not aggressive, but they said I had to leave.”

With no other option, Mr Rees walked ten miles in pitch dark before a passing police patrol took him to Llandeilo.

“The officers urged me not to walk any further because it was too dangerous, but I had no choice,” said Mr Rees.

Mr Rees walked another five miles before a second patrol drove him home, arriving at 6.30am.

“The officers were fantastic,” said Mr Rees. “I dread to think what might have happened if they had not helped.

“I cannot believe that a hospital can expect a 62- year-old to walk 23 miles on a dangerous road in the middle of the night in January with a chest infection.

“It is like living in a ThirdWorld country.”

A health board spokesman said: “We regret to hear about the situation Mr Rees found himself in on New Year’s Day.

The health board has now received a formal complaint and, as the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.

“We’d like to reassure the public that there are a range of innovative transport schemes currently in place, or being piloted, for patients who require assistance with non-emergency transportation within Hywel Dda health board. Improving access to transport is a key priority.”