AN elderly woman was left waiting for an ambulance after suffering a suspected stroke, despite health advice urging swift action.

The East of England Ambulance Service apologised on Thursday for the delay in dispatching an ambulance to help June Hicks, 73, after she collapsed at a bus stop in Leigh, the same day, explaining it was unsure of the reason for her fall.

June was on her way to look at prom dresses with her daughter and grand-daughter when she collapsed at a bus stop in Thames Drive, near London Road, Leigh, just after 1.15pm.

Shop workers and residents rushed to try to help and called an ambulance.

Her daughter Tracey Hicks, 49, said: “She said she didn’t feel well, so I told her to get in the car and the next minute she fell.

“We thought she was dead, she wouldn’t answer me and her eyes were all glazed.

“She was unconscious for a couple of minutes.

“An off-duty nurse came to help her and she thinks she had a minor stroke.

“We were panicking and my daughter was on the phone to the ambulance and we didn’t know what was going on.”

Tracey, from Romford, had to wait for a clinician to call her back to discuss what was wrong with her mother, before they would consider sending an ambulance.

They then sent an ambulance officer, in a first responder car, before the ambulance finally reached her at 2.02pm.

Passerby John Taylor, 58, of The Chase, Benfleet, said shopkeepers and residents called the ambulance at least ten times to see where it was.

Mr Taylor said: “Everyone was in distress. We must have called the ambulance ten times. I think it’s disgusting to leave a woman in her 70s like that. The bottom line is, she needed an ambulance.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Trust said: “We would like to apologise for the time it took to get an ambulance to the patient. We understand we need to reduce the time patients have to wait for an ambulance.

“We were called at 1.24pm to t h e patient who had c o l - lapsed in London Road, in Leigh. Based on what we were told, the call was passed to the clinical support desk to gain more information and after speaking with the patient’s daughter a few minutes later, it was decided a face-to-face response was required within eight minutes.

“Two minutes later a paramedic was on scene to assess the patient and an ambulance then arrived at 2.02pm and took the woman to Southend Hospital.”