Trust apologises for transport problems

THE wife of an elderly man who is suffering from partial paralysis has blasted a hospital's non-emergency transport for delaying her husband's recovery.

THE wife of an elderly man who is suffering from partial paralysis has blasted a hospital's non-emergency transport for delaying her husband's recovery.

Kenneth Green, 83, needs regular physiotherapy after having an operation in November last year for a nerve-problem in his spinal cord, which has caused him to be paralysed in his legs and hands.

But he has missed vital physiotherapy appointments at the nearby Ipswich Hospital after the transport was so delayed or failed to turn up.

His wife Lillian, who accompanies her husband from their home in Starfield Close to the hospital, said the transport was simply "not good enough".

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She said: "We do rely on the transport because of him being in a wheelchair. They keep fobbing us off saying the transport is coming but we are kept waiting and waiting and waiting and once or twice it hasn't turned up.

"We don't blame the physiotherapy girls as it's nothing to do with them. They just ring through and say 'Mr Green is due to come up at a certain time'. It's the transport that is all up the spout.

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"The other day we arrived at the hospital at 3pm for a 2.15pm appointment. Of course then the physiotherapist is on the ward and could not come until 3.30pm so the whole afternoon is gone.

"On the way home we have had to wait for three hours before. We are both diabetic so we need to come home and get some food."

Mr Green was told that it would take nine months to a year to get feeling back.

His wife said: "I do what I can at home and I go up to the physiotherapy with him and I do what they say at home but I'm 82-years-old and I can't do everything.

"Of course, when he misses an appointment it puts him back a bit."

Mr Green said he had experienced problems with the transport for the last two to three months.

He added: "The main problem is that the organisation is not what it should be. They should have a better system."

Mr Green originally started having physiotherapy twice a week, which was then cut down to once a week.

After finally arriving late for his appointment on Tuesday and having his first session of physiotherapy for three weeks, he was told that he would need to go to the hospital three times next week.

The non-ambulance transport service is provided by the East Anglian Ambulance Trust, under contract with the hospital.

Matthew Ware, spokesman for the ambulance trust, said: "We took the contract from Essex ambulance service a couple of months ago and we needed to put a lot of new things in place very quickly.

"For these last couple of months there have been some teething problems while we switch over.

"We would like to apologise for any late appointments or appointments that may have been missed in that period. We are working extremely hard to get things happening 100%.

"We have a whole new fleet of ambulances on order. We've only got about half the fleet up and running so we have had to get vehicles from other places to make up the numbers.

"We have got enough but it is not helping the situation. They should be on the road mid July.

"I know that doesn't help people now but we would ask them to bear with us and everything will be running smoothly soon."

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, added: "We need to work together to make sure that things improve for this gentleman as we do not want people not getting the services that they need."

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