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A harrowing picture of a man who was left to wait a whole three hours before being picked up by an ambulance has painted a bleak picture of the state of the NHS as it battles Covid-19.

The image shows the man curled up in the aisle of a Spar store in West Bromwich, from 10.30pm on Monday to 2am on Tuesday.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) said "we are very sorry" for the delay in helping patients out but a combination of Covid-19 admissions and the winter season means they are "extremely busy".

A shopper, who took the upsetting image above, grew concerned after spotting the man motionless at the BP garage just off the street on Birmingham Road, the Birmingham Live reports.

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A man who collapsed on the floor of a Spar in West Bromwich had to wait more than three hours for an ambulance
(Image: BPM Media)

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The ambulance was called at 10.32pm but only arrived at 1.52am – failing to hit the service's two-hour target to respond to urgent calls by more than an hour.

WMAS admitted some patients were "waiting longer for a response" as paramedics were delayed in handing over patients to busy hospitals.

The service apologised for the delay and urged the public to "help us maintain services" by keeping a two-metre distance from others and sticking to Government advice.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was 'very sorry' for the delay in helping people
(Image: BPM MEDIA)

The ambulance service said they have been 'extremely busy' due to a mix of Covid-19 and the winter season
(Image: BPM MEDIA)

An ambulance service spokesperson said: "A combination of COVID-19 and winter weather has resulted in hospitals being extremely busy which has resulted in ambulances being delayed at hospital.

"This has resulted in some patients waiting longer for a response than we would normally see.

"We are very sorry for this and would ask the public to help us maintain services by observing social distancing and the hands, face, space advice.”

It was understood the man was taken to Sandwell Hospital within 20 minutes of the ambulance eventually arriving.

The image comes after a senior nurse revealed whole "wards full" of patients were being admitted in a single day.

Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse for Black Country and West Birmingham – an area that includes hospitals in Birmingham (City), Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton – provided an insight into life inside hospitals.

Speaking at a regional press conference, she said: "It is tough out there. Across the Black Country and West Birmingham we are seeing the highest rates of infections anywhere in the region.

"Local NHS services are under real significant pressure. We have seen whole wards-full of Covid 19 patients admitted in a single day."