NHS apology as Scots war hero, 97, forced to wait more than three hours in agony after horror fall

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Ambulance bosses are to apologise to a 97-year-old Scottish war hero who was forced to wait more than three hours in agony after breaking his hip.

Commander John Lorimer, thought to be the last survivor of one of the most courageous raids of the Second World War, fell at his home on Friday night.

Commander John Lorimer. Picture: The Buteman

Commander John Lorimer. Picture: The Buteman

He didn't call for help, but the next morning he woke up in excruciating pain and couldn't get out of bed.

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His son Patrick, 73, called emergency services around 9am, but an ambulance didn't arrive for the Royal Navy veteran until after midday - three-and-a-half hours later.

The great grandfather of six, from Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire, was rushed to University Hospital Ayr in Ayr, South Ayrshire, where he had hip replacement surgery the next day.

Ambulance staff have an eight minute target to respond to the most serious emergencies, while other calls are gauged depending on the level of need.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said it would be carrying out a full inquiry into the "fully circumstances of the delay".

But son Patrick said the mercy crews were too 'slow' to reach his father.

Patrick, who also lives in Kirkmichael, said: "He fell around 10pm on Friday night.

"The immediate services were called and they got him into bed as he was flat on his back on the floor.

"The next morning he couldn't get up.

"He had spent the night with the pain and it was getting worse.

"They [the ambulance] were slow.

"He went to hospital and he was told he had a broken hip."

Lorimer, who has two children and three grandchildren, was part of the 12th Submarine Flotilla - also known as the 'midget submariners' - aged 21.

The operation carried out a successful attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in September 1943, saving the lives of tens of thousands of merchant seamen and reshaped the future of the war.

Labour's Monica Lennon condemned the agonising wait, which came two days before the country marked Armistice Day.

She said: "It's upsetting to hear that anyone in severe pain has been made to wait hours for an ambulance, least of all a 97-year-old veteran who has served his country and paid his dues to society.

"It's right that the ambulance service has recognised that this is not acceptable but the real apology should be coming from Nicola Sturgeon.

"Her decisions and record in government have left our NHS and emergency services struggling to cope."

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "We will be looking into this matter thoroughly and will contact this patient directly to apologise and to discuss the circumstances surrounding this delay."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We were very sorry to hear about the delay experienced by Mr Lorimer and understand the ambulance service will be investigating this delay and contacting him directly.

"Despite continuous increased demand, our ambulance crews reached 73 per cent of patients with immediately life-threatening conditions in under 10 minutes and 95 per cent within 20 minutes across the whole of Scotland in 2018-19 - and continue to save more lives year on year."