A 38-stone man had to wait more than six hours to be taken to hospital after he suffered a suspected stroke, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The 62-year-old, understood to be a Royal Air Force veteran, had alerted a neighbour in the middle of the night by banging on the wall when he fell off his toilet and could not get up off his bathroom floor.

Firefighters and a paramedic were sent out just before 2am and managed to manoeuvre him into a chair in his living room to make him comfortable.

But Brian Burnett, 73, said he was then left waiting hours with his sick neighbour for a doctor to arrive, assess him, and call for transport to take him hospital.

It did not arrive until after 8am.

A second crew of firefighters were called out to help carry the man from his house.

Mr Burnett, a former forklift driver, said the paramedic had warned a specialist transport ambulance based at Eastleigh could not get there for six hours, as there was only one crew available.

He said his neighbour was not given oxygen and complained of a loss of feeling in his legs and one arm. Mr Burnett said the doctor told him he could have suffered a minor stroke.

“He said he shouldn’t have to wait this long. He had been wheezing all night. He breathing was getting worse,” said Mr Burnett.

Crew manager Jason Brattle, from Redbridge fire station, said the man was on his side and experiencing breathing difficulties.

“He could not get himself up. We had to use a sheet to move him around, effectively edging him along the floor.

It was the only way to do it,”

he said.

More than a dozen firefighters and a team of ambulance service staff were involved in the operation at the man’s terraced house in Southampton.

A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust said a paramedic was sent at 1.53am to assess the patient but decided he did not need to be rushed to hospital and arranged for a doctor to visit later.

She said the doctor made a category C, non-life threatening or serious, call at 6.44am to request help.

An ambulance officer, an ambulance and a specialist “bariatric” vehicle – adapted to transport heavy patients – were dispatched to treat the patient and take him to hospital.

The ambulance officer arrived an hour and ten minutes after the call.

She added: “The bariatric vehicle is a regular daily resource for our patient transport service, however, it is only routinely staffed from 8am to 8pm.

“Out of these hours we would send the most appropriate resource and if there was a need for transportation in a life-threatening emergency we have ways of enabling the patient to get to hospital.”

A spokesman for Southampton General Hospital last night described the man’s condition as “stable”.