A 97-year-old woman was forced to wait three hours for an ambulance as she lay on the floor, screaming in agony after breaking her hip.
Warrnambool resident Thelma Milne was in "excruciating pain" after a fall in the bathroom of her aged care facility on August 4.
Her carer and niece Faye Smith said she lay on the cold concrete floor as they waited three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance.
"She was screaming 'just do something, do something. I can't put up with this'," Mrs Smith said.
"We were just watching and trying to put blankets on her to keep her warm. It was really hard."
Mrs Smith and staff members made numerous calls to Triple-0 for an ambulance but they couldn't get an estimated arrival time.
"I rang Triple-0 several times, the staff rang but we couldn't get any information as to when they were coming or how near they were," she said.
Mrs Smith said it was "pretty cruel" to leave a vulnerable elderly person screaming in pain waiting for so long.
"I would have thought she would have been prioritised because of her age and condition," Mrs Smith said.
"I was guilty of thinking we live regionally and we're in Warrnambool, maybe we would have got an ambulance quicker but to not even have an estimate of time..."
She said the healthcare system was "broken" and "falling down".
"It's failing, in my opinion. It's absolutely devastating for an elderly person to have to lay there like that."
She said after a while a staff member was able to contact a doctor who approved morphine for the pain.
Mrs Smith said Mrs Milne's hip was operated on at the Warrnambool hospital the next day.
The widow, who previously used a walker to get around is now unable to walk as a result of the fall, Mrs Smith said.
An Ambulance Victoria (AV) spokeswoman said the call came at a period of high demand and AV took its commitment to providing the best care for every patient seriously.
"We acknowledge that the time waiting for an ambulance would have been distressing for the patient, her family and those with her," the spokeswoman said.
"The call came during a period of high demand in the area for ambulance services.
"While we do all we can to reach patients in a timely manner, we prioritise ambulances for people facing life-threatening health emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, stroke or major trauma," she said.
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