A footballer who broke his leg during a game in Cambridgeshire was left dismayed when the ambulance service asked his team-mates to wheel him to a nearby hospital to save them attending.

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Gary Smith, from March, was left lying on Doddington United’s pitch, in Benwick Road, for more than 40 minutes on Saturday after he suffered the injury in their cup clash with Eaton Socon Reserves.

His team-mate Charlie Bradshaw called an ambulance at about 4.15pm, but the ambulance service claim they were not fully informed as to the “severity of the injuries”.

Mr Bradshaw said: “They asked for details including the address so I told them we were opposite Doddington Hospital. They said they would assess the situation and give me a ring back. About five minutes later they called back and asked to speak to Gary himself, who was laid out on the pitch. He was obviously in a lot of pain but he managed to talk to them.

“They eventually said they would send an ambulance but they had asked if we could go over to the hospital, get a wheelchair and wheel him in for an X-ray.

“It was absolutely unbelievable.”

An ambulance service spokesman said the original caller was not with the patient and said “only that it was an injured ankle with no indication of a fracture”.

The spokesman said: “Therefore we did ask if he could be taken to a minor injuries unit as is appropriate for when a non-serious injury is indicated. It was only when we phoned back 11 minutes later to assess in more detail that we were able to glean from the patient that he couldn’t weight-bear and upgraded the incident. A paramedic arrived within 20 minutes of the completion of that call back so within our targets for a non life-threatening injury.”

Mr Smith, 20, who was eventually lifted into an ambulance at about 5pm, said his injury was not taken “seriously enough”. “We were all in disbelief,” he said. “To suggest someone with a broken leg should get a wheelchair and go across the road is absolutely appalling.

“I was lying in the cold. The players put stuff on me to try and keep me warm but I just wanted it to be over and to be in hospital.

“I was in agony and I’d hate to imagine the damage I could have done if we’d done what they asked.”

The football match, which Mr Smith had earlier scored in, was delayed for more than an hour.

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