"Difficulty accessing reception"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Trauma and Orthopaedics Scottish Ambulance Service / Patient Transport Service

(as the patient),

I had an appointment for spinal surgery (Mr Gibson) in October at 7: 15am. I would have taken a taxi to get there but for one difficulty: I walk with difficulty and the problem was how to get from the taxi to the reception desk at the end of a longish “promenade” in your entrance.

The taxi driver would not be able to help me. So I phoned the appropriate hospital ambulance service and they were willing to take me, and would I think have escorted me to the reception desk – probably in a wheelchair.

Only, no – that was impossible. They only start at 8am. With my sticks I could have walked the distance, but not while carrying a holdall with the things I was told to bring in for my few days stay.

Had the appointment been a littler later in the day, I would have asked a friend – but my friends are mostly elderly (if they are not working) and I did not want to ask them to get up at 5: 30am, which would have been necessary.

This quandary caused me some anxiety and stress. I finally took a taxi, luckily the driver was willing to leave his cab at the door – go to get a wheelchair which was luckily available. I was therefore able to push it along to the reception desk, where an assistant was summoned.


Response from Ken Mitchell, Programme Director - Scheduled Care, Patient Transport Service, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Monkey725,

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties you experience and would be happy to discuss the situation. I can be contacted on 0131 -314 0076

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Response from Heather Kenney, Director of Strategy and Planning, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Monkey725,

Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so sorry we were unable to support you to get into hospital. We are currently working on a comprehensive programme of improvment work in order to provide a much more reponsive service to our patients. If you feel able, please do contact Ken who will be pleased to discuss this with you and take steps wherever we can to avoid such events occuring.

Best wishes and I hope this message finds you well on the way to a full recovery.


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Response from Stuart Wilson, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, NHS Lothian

Dear Monkey725

I am sorry to hear of your experience in getting access to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

When you were given your appointment for surgery your time of arrival and the fact you needed a wheelchair to get to the department should have been noted. Even if you were dropped off at the door we should have been able to provide that for you, regardless of time.

Wheelchairs are available 24 hours a day in the hospital. The fact that did not happen is wrong and I apologise for that.

I have passed your comments to our team and would hope that this sort of situation does not arise again.

Thank you for taking time to provide the feedback which I assure you will be used to look at how we handle such situations in the future.

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