A TERMINALLY ill cancer patient was left in agony for three hours after call handlers allegedly refused to send out an ambulance when her distraught daughter begged for help.

Christine Barker, of Main Road, Dovercourt, has cancer of the plasma cells, and was suffering from a serious undiagnosed infection in her leg when her daughter called Colchester Hospital on Monday morning.

Kate Kent, was told to dial 999 immediately but was allegedly told by call handlers she would receive a call back from a paramedic or nurse to determine if an ambulance was needed.

A senior member of staff from Colchester hospital was then forced to call for non-emergency transport to the hospital.

Shortly before 12pm a St John’s Ambulance arrived but had to call for paramedic back-up to treat Mrs Barker, 62.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service has apologised to the family and said
the incident would be fully investigated.

They said: “First of all we would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the family for the problems they experienced during what was a very distressing time for them.

"Based on the information given in the first 999 call, it was decided that further telephone assessment was needed by a paramedic or nurse."