Thursday 12th August 1993 Morning coffee break 11:45
My Dad groaned and put his coffee down. Andrea handed him the phone.
“I am in the middle of my coffee, Mrs Vaughan. I have just finished a very tricky surgery.”
“There are no ambulances in the whole of Wales, Desmond.”
“There are no ambulances in Wales! Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Harry Charlton woke with severe chest pain yesterday morning. Mildred Charlton phoned 999 immediately. The paramedic turned up at 8 o’clock today.”
“You must be mistaken, Mrs Vaughan.”
“Harry’s electrocardiogram confirmed a heart attack. Of course, he had missed his chance of thrombolysis by then. A 60 year old man in Newport who was vomiting blood had to drive himself to The Royal Gwent Hospital.”
“Mrs Vaughan . . .”
“In Haverford West, one of the GPs took an unconscious child to the Emergency Department in his own car.”
“I am sorry, Mrs Vaughan, but you’ve gone too far this time. In fact, to be completely honest, I think that you have lost the plot. I’ll tell you what I am going to do. When I have finished my coffee, I am going to phone Mair Parry, the psychiatrist. I will ask her to see you this afternoon. In the meantime, I would strongly advise you not to leave the house. Pack an overnight bag. I will let you know when I have spoken to Dr Parry.” My Dad put the phone down firmly and sighed.
“It’s true, Desmond,” Andrea Jones said as she brought some chocolate digestives over.
“I know, Andrea. I should have realised this was going to happen. She has been teetering on a knife edge for several months, ever since poor Mrs Bingham died.”
“I mean that it’s true about the ambulances. We had a memo from the Welsh Ambulance Service this morning. There are no ambulances in Wales. Apparently, it is classified as a business continuity incident.”
“That can’t be right, Andrea. It would have been all over the News.”
“Yes, you would have thought so.” Andrea said. She and my Dad both took a biscuit.