A dad was scared to go to sleep in case he died while waiting 10 hours for an ambulance.
Jake Lancaster called 999 after three days of illness, during which he experienced heart palpitations, numbness in his limbs and was dripping with sweat.
The unexplained symptoms started on Friday, June 17 when the 27-year-old was staying at his partner's house in Britton Street, Gillingham – just 0.9 miles from Medway Maritime Hospital.
He said: "I was really, really unwell. Over the weekend I was getting progressively worse and knew if I spoke to 111 they would send me an ambulance.
"I was really ill. I was wiping my head and was just dripping and dripping with sweat. I could not lift my arm or leg."
By 9pm that Sunday he decided to call an ambulance as he started to think something was seriously wrong as he could hardly move.
"I could not bear it any more," he added. "I thought I was going to die. I could barely talk and I was so weak. I could barely move and my partner had to take over the phone call."
After waiting for two hours the pair rung the service again and were told there were no ambulances in the area but they would be on their way when they could.
Jake, who lives in Corporation Road, Gillingham, said: "What I was experiencing over that weekend was 100% worse than Covid which I have had.
"I knew it was not just a cold. I knew it was not normal. It was scary. I thought I am having a heart attack. I thought I am going to die. I almost did not want to go to sleep in case I did not wake up."
The dad-of-three eventually went to bed and was woken by paramedics hammering on his door at 7.30am on the Monday.
He added: "I was still sleeping. I thought it was the police at first. It was 'thump, thump, thump'. I could not be dealing with it. It had taken me two days to call them up.
"I do not think I will ever call one again. I feel like I would have to make my own way somewhere. Ten-and-a-half hours is ludicrous.
"My partner does not drive so there was no other way to get down there. I could not even walk, there is no way I could get up there myself. It was awful."
Jake got in contact with his GP after turning the paramedics away and explained his symptoms. At the time of writing, he was waiting for results back.
The bank worker said he had to take time off due to feeling so weak, and he still had numbness in his arms and legs and was constantly shaking and dripping with sweat a week later.
A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) spokesman said: "We are very sorry we were unable to respond to Mr Lancaster within the timeframe expected.
"We continue to face extremely busy periods and appreciate that some patients are waiting far longer than they should while we prioritise our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
"We would invite Mr Lancaster to contact us directly for us to look into our response to him in detail."
Statistics were published on Thursday, June 16, for response times for all ambulances across the country in May. They showed that all ambulance services continued to face pressure and were not achieving the response time performance expected.
However, SECAmb was ahead of the national average in the highest three categories of calls and had one of the shortest response times for Category 2 incidents.
A SECAmb spokesman added: "We know some patients are waiting longer than they should for a response and we are doing everything we can to reach those who need assistance as quickly as possible, while prioritising our response to our most seriously ill and injured patients.
"We continue to work closely with hospitals to minimise handover delays to ensure we are as best placed as possible to attend patients requiring an ambulance response.
"The public can help us manage demand by only calling 999 in an emergency. We also urge everyone to make use of alternatives to 999 for help and advice including speaking to their GP, a pharmacist, by visiting 111.nhs.uk or calling 111."