October 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Ambulance bosses have apologised after a 76-year-old hospital patient waited eight hours for a vehicle to take him home following a bladder operation.
Bryan Wright eventually hired a taxi to drive him from Ipswich Hospital to Wickham Market the day after undergoing a cystoscopy procedure under general anaesthetic.
He had requested to use the non-emergency patient transport service because his wife, Sheila, is visually impaired and unable to drive.
After complaining to the East of England Ambulance Service, Mr Wright was told he would not be reimbursed the £22 fare he paid for a taxi home. Bosses have since apologised for the delay.
Mr Wright said: “At noon I was told it would be a couple of hours, so I had some lunch and a cup of tea.
“I accepted waiting for a couple of hours - but the wait went on. When the ambulance arrived at the hospital I was already home.”
The ambulance service said transport was booked for Mr Wright but that no specific time was given for its arrival. It said an “open PM booking” had been confirmed, as there was no special urgency in transporting him home.
Mrs Wright, 72, considered it “unacceptable” for her husband to have waited so long for a lift. She said: “He called after a couple of hours to say he was coming home on the bus. He had just been under general anaesthetic so I told him to wait. It got to about 4.30pm and I still hadn’t seen him, so I called the hospital and was told by the bed manager that he would be with me shortly. He arrived home in a taxi at 8.30pm.
“We have taken it up with the ambulance service, who told us they were confident that they had fulfilled their commitment.
“It’s totally unacceptable to allow someone to wait for that long. It’s not the cost of the taxi that bothers us, it’s the principle.”
The operation took place on Friday, January 31, but Mr and Mrs Wright felt that their complaint was not satisfactorily resolved.
A spokesman for the ambulance service, which uses services of a private firm for hospital transport, said: “We apologise for the delay in providing transport to Mr Wright. Clearly we should have provided a more timely and better level of service and we have apologised to Mr Wright personally.”