AN 87-year-old man was taken to hospital more than an hour-and-a-half after falling in Darlington town centre, leading to concerns being raised about the length of time taken for an ambulance to attend.

Peter Jones, from the Eastbourne area of the town, fell on High Row hitting his head and injuring his shoulder.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is investigating the time it took to reach Mr Jones and is encouraging his family to contact their complaints department.

A bystander rang the ambulance service at 10.46am and two other men moved Mr Jones on to the pavement. Crowds gathered around the man, who suffers from diabetes, before his daughter Shelia Corrigan arrived at the scene.

She said: “I know there’s other emergencies but for his age it’s a long time isn’t it? I think the paramedic has been onto the ambulance service and I’ve just heard him say they’ve passed it on to the North East Ambulance Service, but obviously we are still waiting. He’s okay I think, but at 87 it’s a bit much to be laid on stone for over an hour and half. Mind, everyone’s been so good, but it is disgusting to wait so long for an ambulance.”

The man who rang the emergency services stayed with Mr Jones until he was taken to hospital. He said: “He’s got a nasty gash on his head. A paramedic is here who just happened to be in the area which is lucky.

“They didn’t say how long they’d be, they just said it’s still classed as an emergency and they’d get one out as soon as possible. I was told if there were any changes in his condition to ring back straight away.”

A Middlesbrough ambulance crew arrived at the scene at 12.25pm and Mr Jones was put into the ambulance at 12.46pm. He is now at home resting with the support of his daughter.

A spokesperson from NEAS said: “We understand that this must have been a distressing wait for both the patient and his family and we would encourage them to contact our complaints department with their concerns so that we can explore whether there were any missed opportunities to reach them sooner.

“We prioritise our resources to reach the most seriously ill patients with life threatening conditions and sometimes that can mean that others wait longer when any resources we have initially dispatched, have to be diverted.”