A cancer patient had to wait 45 minutes for an ambulance after nearly collapsing in pain.
After making an emergency call Dick Riley, 70, was to be transported to Walsgrave’s University Hospital from his Sidney Road home in Rugby.
But ambulance staff were delayed because a second emergency call came in where a patient was unconscious.
“If I’d had a heart attack I probably wouldn’t be here now,” said Mr Riley.
“Rugby hasn’t even got an ambulance station. This is a bad situation and it’s getting worse.”
He said it was a national problem and that could cost people their lives.
His wife, Carol, 68, said the paramedic and emergency ambulance services are inadequate to get patients to Walsgrave quickly.
“Both services agreed they are being stretched too far to give a quick, reliable service,” she said. “We were in the unhappy position of having to phone 999 on Boxing Day as my husband was in severe, constant pain to the point of near collapse.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We are sorry that the patient feels that they had a poor level of response from the service.
“Based on the information provided by the caller, the patient was fully conscious, breathing and safely inside a house. The pain that was described was an ongoing issue that had then deteriorated. An ambulance was initially dispatched within two minutes of the call but was diverted to an unconscious patient whose life was potentially at risk. The next available resource, a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle, was sent as soon as they were available.
“At the time of the call demand was extremely high due to it being a bank holiday with other services being unavailable. We always aim to get an emergency response to calls as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, there was a delay on this occasion.”