A retired NHS worker was forced to crawl upstairs on her hands and knees after waiting five-and-a-half hours for an ambulance.
The 82-year-old from Bognor Regis, who asked to remain anonymous because of her health, called for an ambulance one night just after New Year.
She told the Observer: “I had a nasty fall at home at 9pm. I could not get up.
“I have a button around my neck that I press for help. I waited two hours, so I pressed the button again.
“I said I do not think I broke anything but I certainly injured my ankle.”
But despite the calls to the ambulance via her emergency button service, the hours stretched on without help arriving.
“It got to 2.30am in the morning, all that time on the floor.”
The pensioner called a friend to help her, but she was also unable to get her up.
“I had to go up on my hands and knees.”
She managed to crawl up the stairs and into her room.
Once she was safely in bed she cancelled the 999 call, resolving to sort her ankle the next day.
An ambulance worker in a car later knocked at the door, but her friend told him she had cancelled the call.
She added: “Why send one man – that would have been useless for me anyway.”
The woman was seen by a doctor the next morning.
The retired NHS medical secretary, who used to work in Southlands Hospital and in the Worthing area, said: “It’s alright being angry and disgusted but you have to feel for the ambulance drivers.
“They did phone the next day and apologise.”
The South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has been approached for comment.