An 85-year-old cancer patient was forced to wait for seven hours in the rain for an ambulance despite living just yards from a hospital.
Keith Royles broke his hip while cutting the lawn at home in the village of Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.
His family called 999 but were told they would have to wait between four and seven hours even though the local hospital is directly opposite his home.
Photos released on Tuesday showed Mr Royles covered with a tarpaulin and an umbrella placed over his head to keep the rain off during the agonising wait.
His daughter Tina Royles said “the system is broken”, adding that it “must be so frustrating and heart-breaking” for staff working in the NHS.
The Welsh Ambulance Service apologised for the delay which took place in September but said “hospital handover delays remain the single biggest reason we cannot get to some patients quickly”.
Ms Royles said: “We called an ambulance and were told that there would be a wait of between four to seven hours.
“We called several times and my sister even tried to flag down an ambulance but they said they couldn’t help.”
Mr Royles lives just across the road from the major Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hospital serving his part of North Wales.
But when paramedics did arrive they were told to take Mr Royles to another hospital more than 30 miles away in Bangor as the one opposite his house was “too busy”.
Ms Royles said the family were able to successfully argue for her dad - who suffers from terminal cancer - to be taken over the road from his home.
‘The system is broken’
Speaking to S4C programme Y Byd ar Bedwar, she said: “As a family, we’re not faulting the staff, but the system is broken.”
“I feel sorry for the people that have gotten into the service because it must be so frustrating and heartbreaking to be in that situation.
“They must be leaving in their droves.”
Lee Brooks, executive director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We are deeply sorry about Mr Royles’ experience, which was no doubt a painful and anxious wait for all involved.
“Hospital handover delays remain the single biggest reason we cannot get to some patients quickly. It’ll take a system-wide effort to resolve a system-wide issue.”
In August, a report by Health Inspectorate Wales found “risks to patients” and “significant concerns” at the A&E department at the hospital.
Angela Wood, director of nursing and midwifery for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said the report was being taken “very seriously”.
She said: “We’ve got an improvement director that we’ve appointed who is supporting the staff and working with the staff on the ground to identify what the issues were, what the barriers were to providing the best care they could, and then putting things in place to help support them.”