A severely ill north Pembrokeshire patient was transported more than 50 miles to Bronglais hospital because there was no space in Withybush, health watchdogs were told on Friday.

Hywel Dda Community Health Council chairman Paul Hinge warned Ceredigion CHC members that situations of this kind put lives at risk, after a woman was rushed by ambulance to Aberystwyth from an area south of Newport.

Cllr Hinge told the meeting it later emerged that room had been available in nearby Withybush, adding that the health board should have been given a ‘roasting’ by the ambulance service.

He said: “This was a very sick person who could have expired on that journey. I find it very strange that when a person is that ill, space can’t be found. Luckily she made it, thanks to good ambulance staff.”

He added: “At the end of the day we are dicing with people’s lives here, and we need to have a slicker movement. It only takes one case.”

Brian Pullen of the Welsh Ambulance Service said ambulances did get diverted, but there would be talks with doctors throughout.

He added: “Transfers are not done on a whim. It would depend on what the patient was being treated for.”

Gill Davies of Hywel Dda said: “Diverts do not often happen, but when they do they are for very good reasons.”