A GREAT grandfather who fell over while walking his dog was left lying on a freezing cold road for four hours waiting for an ambulance.

Alan Smedley, aged 77, who suffered fractures to a shoulder joint in the fall, went into shock as he waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Neighbours stepped in to help the retired British Aerospace worker, of Knowsley Road in Ainsworth, by giving him cardboard to lie on, hot water bottles and portable heaters.

A neighbour phoned for the ambulance and a rapid response vehicle arrived two-and-a-half hours later. It took the ambulance a further hour-and-a-half to arrive.

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust has apologised for the delay.

The incident occurred in a week when the Royal Bolton Hospital was forced to declare a "major incident" as its Accident and Emergency department reached crisis point.

Mr Smedley was walking his jack russell dog, Poppy, at around 10am on Sunday in nearby Broomfield Close when he slipped and fell to the ground.

He said: "I dropped Poppy's lead as I fell and she carried on. Once she realised I had fallen she ran back to me and wouldn't leave my side.

"I can't believe I had to wait so long for an ambulance. It was freezing cold on Sunday and I was lying in the road all that time. It was a dreadful experience."

Mr Smedley's wife, 75-year-old Sheila had urged her husband to take his mobile telephone with him so he was able to ring his family to explain what had happened.

Mr Smedley said: "The medic came on duty at midday and got to me about 12.20pm. He couldn't take me to hospital as he only had an estate car and I needed an ambulance," he said.

Mr Smedley was given morphine for the pain and regular checks on his blood pressure and temperature while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The medic had been making regular calls for an ambulance,

"It was at this point that the medic made his final call for the ambulance demanding it came straight away as he was really worried about me.

"I dread to think what might have happened if the ambulance had not come then," he said.

When he reached the Royal Bolton Hospital Mr Smedley had to wait on a hospital trolley for an hour and a half before the first doctor saw him and tests began.

"There were lots of people all head to tail on hospital trolleys waiting to be seen. It was chaos in there with people coming in on stretchers. It was like being at a football match there were so many people around," he said.

Mr Smedley, who arrived home at 10.30pm, is now waiting, at home, for surgery to fix the injury which will involve inserting a plate and screws.

A spokesperson for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust said: “We apologise for the delay in responding to this incident and for any upset caused.

"In recent weeks we have experienced an unprecedented amount of emergency calls.

"Between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015, we answered 84,858 emergency "999" calls — an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to the same time period last year.

“There were 35,635 classed as "red" (immediately life-threatening or life-threatening) emergencies and these must be given priority over other calls. Unfortunately this is resulting in some patients having to wait longer that they should for an ambulance response.”

Bolton NHS Foundation announced an emergency plan this week as doctors and nurses struggled to cope with the overwhelming number of patients and paramedics were forced to wait with patients in A&E — with more than 500 handovers delayed by 30 minutes or more — in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.