A woman says she was left waiting outside A&E for four hours with her mother who had suffered a suspected stroke.

Leah Butler-Smith and her mum Sue, from Chelmsford, were forced to wait outside Broomfield Hospital A&E for four hours due to insufficient space.

Leah received a call from her sister the morning of January 3 informing her that her mother was sick and an ambulance was on the way to her house.

Leah rushed to her mother’s home where they both patiently waited for an hour before the ambulance arrived.

Leah said: “Mum sounded dreadful and she has a history of stroke so we were worried.

"When the paramedics arrived, they were so upset. It normally takes 18 minutes from the call for them to arrive at the scene for suspected strokes.”

The paramedics assessed Sue and found that the stroke-like symptoms had begun four hours earlier therefore she had missed the window for the correct medication.

Leah added: “When we arrived at the hospital we were then left waiting outside the A&E in the ambulance for another four hours.

“There were nine ambulances waiting ahead of us. Listening to the staff I realised that as long as a patient is inside the ambulance and being cared for by someone who is medically trained then they are not on the clock.

“NHS trusts are fined by the Government if they go over the allotted waiting times – the figures that have to be released by the trusts.

Enough money is being taken out of the NHS’s already slender budget. You can understand why they’re trying to avoid it.”

While her mother was slipping in and out of consciousness, Leah began a Facebook Live video with her 4,100 friends to show them what was happening locally and to urge them to contact their local politicians.

Her post has now had 16,783 shares and triggered BBC’s Andrew Marr to raise the example with Theresa May during a TV interview.

Leah said: “I was extremely mad to hear that Theresa May had said just the day before that there was no crisis.

“The paramedics told us while we were waiting there were 73 people in their homes waiting for an ambulance, while 25 ambulances were sat in the parking lot.

They even began shifting patients into the private ambulances that can hold up to four patients to send the single ambulances back out.”

Sue was moved into the hospital later that day and tests found she had sepsis.

Leah said: “It turned out to be sepsis which is incredibly serious. If I’d have known, I might have been even more panicked.”

Sue is now back at home and recovering well.

Leah added: “You can’t fault the staff, they are amazing and quite clearly caring. It’s the frustration with the administration.”

A spokesperson for Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust said: “The Trust at the time was facing a very high demand on our services, something that we had been experiencing over the extended holiday period, in common with other hospitals across the whole country. “Our teams continue to work extremely hard to provide high quality, safe patient care while under continued pressure, ensuring that all patients are assessed, triaged and treated as appropriate.”