A NEWPORT woman suffering from excruciating stomach pains waited almost seven hours for an ambulance before taking herself to hospital.

Mary Jones, of Lliswerry in Newport, has suffered from a mystery chronic pain condition since an aortic aneurism operation three and a half years ago.

On January 18 pains in her stomach became so severe she was unable to move, and her husband Lyndon Jones called out a doctor.

Mr Jones said the doctor recommended Mrs Jones be admitted to hospital.

He says the GP called for an ambulance at 1.30pm because it would be painful for Mrs Jones to sit up in a car, but was told it would be two hours before an ambulance would be available.

Four hours later, Mr Jones said he phoned again but was told he couldn't be given an exact time when an ambulance would arrive.

By 8.30pm, Mr Jones said the ambulance service phoned to say it could not provide an ambulance, but would arrange for a car to pick up Mrs Jones.

Mr Jones decided to take his wife to hospital in his own car, and arrived at the Royal Gwent’s medical assessment unit around 8.50pm.

He claims staff told him there were no beds for his wife, and it would be another two hours before she would be seen.

At 10pm Mrs Jones still had not been seen by any medical staff and Mr Jones took her home to rest.

“It was absolutely ludicrous,” said Mr Jones. “She was very frightened, but she just had to put up with the pain.”

Mr Jones said he was now considering making a formal complaint to the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “We are currently investigating this matter. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”

A spokesman for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board said that last Monday was exceptionally busy at the Royal Gwent's medical assessment unit, and that all patients were assessed on arrival and priority given to the most urgent cases.

A spokesman added: "We apologise to Mrs Jones and to those patients who did wait a long time."