Under-fire ambulance chiefs have done a dramatic U-turn over cuts in the North West as the service struggles to cope with an avalanche of 999 calls.
Economies, which would have meant fewer paramedic crews on the road, have been shelved for at least nine months amid claims some emergencies are not being dealt with.
The change of heart follows a raft of complaints in Lancashire over the past 10 days from accident and blaze victims transported to hospital by fire crews, police or family because ambulances failed to show.
In the latest a 90-year-old woman trapped by her feet under paving slabs in Penwortham had to be driven to A&E by relatives where it was found she had broken her leg and ankle. A road crash victim in Fulwood and two casualties from a fire in Ribbleton, Preston, were given a lift to hospital on fire engines.
A woman with a suspected broken ankle after slipping in Clitheroe was taken in for treatment by a concerned police patrol. And a woman who suffered a head injury in a fall in the street in East Lancashire waited almost two hours for paramedics to arrive.
Now the service has decided to suspend cutbacks in an attempt to shore up the service as call-outs to life-threatening incidents soared by more than 15 per cent in Lancashire last month.
The cuts, only announced six weeks ago, would have affected night-time cover in Blackpool, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Carlisle and Penrith. They would also have hit daytime services at eight other stations including Leyland, Burscough and Blackburn. The decision will be reviewed next April.