AMMANFORD shop owners and passers-by were left fuming after a woman with an apparent arm and hip injury was left waiting 80 minutes for an ambulance after a fall.

The woman, believed to be in her 60s, fell on the concrete at the bottom of The Arcade on College Street last Thursday.

Worried shoppers contacted the emergency services but were left stunned at the response time.

“It’s disgusting,” said Stephen Hale, from Betws.

“I was talking to my mate and I saw her fall. An ambulance was called at 12.40pm and I was shocked to see how long it took.

“It was nice to see community spirit with passers-by and shopkeepers coming to help – even the doctor came from Brynteg Surgery” he added.

Carmarthenshire county councillor Deian Harries, whose shoe shop is opposite the scene, was forced to flag down a passing police car for help.

“The police had to call for the fire brigade, who took her into the bookshop on a stretcher until the ambulance arrived,” he said.

“It just goes to show what a mess this country is in.”

Fellow county councillor Anthony Jones, who also witnessed the aftermath of the incident, said: “We all need to be asking some searching questions – are we now in meltdown as far as the ambulance service is concerned?”

Rob Jeffery, Welsh Ambulance Service head of service for Hywel Dda, said: “We were called at 12.40pm. At the time the service was dealing with a number of serious incidents, including two serious road traffic collisions.

“This, coupled with handover delays at hospitals, reduced the availability of our crews and vehicles.

“Notwithstanding these pressures, we regret the delay in the response to this call and we would invite the patient or her family to contact us to discuss the case further should they wish to do so."