An elderly man who suffered a mini stroke had to wait more than 10 hours for an ambulance to take him to hospital.
Olly Clarkson, 81, from The Lonnen, South Shields, was seen by doctors at Marsden Road Health Centre at 4:30pm on Thursday after feeling numbness in his left arm.
Doctors immediately called for an ambulance to take him to Sunderland Royal Hospital believing he had suffered a mini-stroke, but the former detective was left waiting until 3.30am the following morning, despite repeated calls to the service.
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman apologised for the delay and said it is conducting an internal review os his case.
Mr Clarkson, who had suffered a major stroke 15 years ago, says he now wants to make people aware of the problems in the service.
He said: “I has been waiting for hours and they just didn’t turn up.
“They should have been there within four hours when dealing with someone who has had a stroke.
“I could have died or been paralysed as I was waiting over 10 hours.”
He added: “I live on my own, I am a pensioner and all of my family live down South. I can’t depend on relatives to take me.”
Ambulance crews took Mr Clarkson to Sunderland Royal Hospital where he was seen by 4:15am on Friday and underwent scans and blood tests before he was given tablets to open his artery in his neck to ease his blood flow.
He is now back home and due further scans next week.
He added: “If people in South Shields knew what was going on they would be terrified.
“Someone is going to lose their life.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise to Mr Clarkson for the delay he experienced and the distress this must have caused him.
“At times of high demand, we must prioritise our service to those patients whose life is immediately at risk. “Nevertheless, the service Mr Clarkson received clearly fell short of what we would want to provide.
“We will now be conducting an internal review.
“This will look to understand if there were any missed opportunities between ourselves and the other services involved.”