"Long delay for pickup after outpatients appointment"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Patient transport service (PTS)

(as the patient),

Re. Hospital transport by ambulance in a wheel chair situation - pick up service going to the hospital very good, crew of ambulance very helpful and kind. However on my return home from the outpatient visit, I had just missed the transport by 20 minutes because of delays in the waiting and consultation process and a needed xray. I then had to wait 3. 5 to 4 hours for the ambulance to return to collect me. This was on a Friday. The hospital staff and the ambulance drivers say that this is a normal occurrence on a Friday. It seems that this problem needs urgently looking at and other arrangements need to be made instead of arranging for the crew to return for the pick up in just over 1 hour.

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Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Dear Peter662

Thank you for taking the time to share your story.I am very sorry to hear about your experience while waiting for transport.

Our non-emergency ambulance service is predominantly a 'pre-planned' service, that is to say that we plan all the journeys 24 hours before they take place. This is to ensure that we utilise our transport as efficiently as possible and that everyone gets transport that is suitable for their care needs and their mobility. Any new bookings, or altered pick up times can be challenging to accomodate, as it relies on a vehicle being available at that time.

On this occasion it appears that your transport home had to be re-booked. Our contractual obligations for these types of bookings are to pick patients up within 4 hours and 45 minutes of receiving the request, but of course we try to arrange transport as early as we can.

Unforeseen delays in out-patient clinics are very unfortunate. The ambulance crew who came to collect you would have been able to wait for approx 5 minutes, however they would not have been able to wait for your consultation and x-ray to be complete as it is unlikely they would have been aware of how long this might have taken. Our contract agreement states that ambulance crews are only allowed to wait for a very short period of time for patients coming out of clinics as waits have a significant impact on other patients that may have been travelling with you or after you with that ambulance crew.

I hope this explanation goes some way to giving you an understanding of what may have happened. However, if you would like us to look into the specific events surrounding your transport on this day please contact our Patient Experience team on 01392 261 585 and we will be very pleased to investigate this for you.

Thank you, again for sharing your story.


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