"Long waiting times for an ambulance"

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

(as a service user),

I was kept waiting a long time for an ambulance to collect me from my home. My Gp arranged for the ambulance to collect me to take me to the hospital for an operation, I was told the ambulance would arrive between 7: 15 and 7: 30 in the morning. When it did not arrive I phoned to check where it was, it finally arrived at 10: 00 and I got to the hospital at 11: 30. Fortunately the hospital was able to fit me in even though I arrived late.

I took this up with my GP later and they sent me a copy of the original fax to the ambulance service. It may be that they mis-read the time interpreting the 7 as a 1. I expect these thing happen!

On another occasion the ambulance service took me to the Bristol Dental Hospital. After the treatment I was asked to wait in an area where there was quite fierce air conditioning. The receptionist kept making repeated calls to the ambulance service to come and collect me but we were kept waiting for three and three quarter hours.

Initially they said the ambulance would be able to collect me in 5 minutes, an hour later we were told they would come in 15 minutes and a further hour later we were told there was no transport.

I got very cold due to the air conditioning and so was very uncomfortable getting home when the ambulance finally arrived.

I shall go prepared with a thick coat next time!

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Response from Laura Martin, Patient Engagement Administrator, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Earthy390

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am very sorry to hear that the service did not meet your expectations on these occasions.

Our Patient Transport Service is a predominately pre-planned service; we work to a schedule that has been planned out the previous day. As we don’t operate like a taxi service we cannot send a vehicle out as soon as a patient is ready, we must abide to the times provided to us by the hospital. Naturally there are times when our crews are delayed; problems with congestion, departments over running earlier in the day or vehicle breakdowns can all cause delays. However, we will always aim to get patients home as soon as possible.

I hope this explanation provides some information on how our Patient Transport Service works. However, if you would like further information as to what happened on this occassion please contact our Patient Experience Team by email, patientexperience@swast.nhs.uk, or phone, 01392 261 585, and a member of the team will be very pleased to help you.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide feedback.


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