LONDON (MOP): An elderly cancer patient claims he was forced to call 999 from his hospital bed after staff ignored his calls for help. Peter Tizzard, 73, was in the care of Dorset County Hospital when he suddenly experienced severe pain, and pressed his bedside call button and shouted out for assistance. Mr Tizzard, who suffers from prostate cancer, claims he saw no other way to get help, and used his mobile phone to make an emergency 999 call. The emergency operator called Mr Tizzard’s ward at the Dorset County Hospital, and they sent a doctor to see him.

Mr Tizzard says he does not blame the staff for not coming to his aid quickly enough, saying the ward was understaffed and the doctors and nurses ‘run ragged’. Mr Tizzard, from Weymouth, Dorset, said: ‘I kept shouting but no one came to see me. I don’t know how long I was shouting for. ‘I thought, “what am I going to do?” Calling 999 was the only way someone was coming to help me. ‘I told the operator that I didn’t want an ambulance - I just wanted to be wheeled down to A and E so I could be seen to. ‘All the nursing staff, the doctors, were wonderful - they just don’t have enough staff. They’re run ragged. ‘There were four nursing staff looking after between 28 and 34 people. How can you expect them to be able to do that?’ Dorset County Hospital denied that there were problems with staffing at the hospital on the night of the 29th March, and says that Mr Tizzard chose to dial 999 instead of using the call bell system. A spokeswoman said: ‘Lulworth Ward was fully staffed that night and there were no problems with call bells being answered in a timely way. His son, Gonzalo Garcia Barcha, said his father was doing “very well and progressing very well” and could be discharged from the capital’s National Medical Science and Nutrition Institute early next week.