"A weeks notice to arrange transport means I can't make my appointment"

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

(as the patient),

I called the hospital on Monday, and was told I had to be ready from 8: 30am. I was picked up at 10: 25. My appointment was at 10: 30, and I arrived at the hospital a couple of minutes late.

On the way home I was due to be picked up at 11: 30am. The ambulance did not arrive until 2: 50pm! I was told during this time that I was top of the list and next in line to be collected. However, whilst I was in the waiting room a few people were collected before me.

The two paramedics who picked me up were disgusted at how long I had to wait. Their attitude was fine, although a bit brisk which was understandable.

I’ve now tried to make a new appointment for next Monday (it’s Wednesday today) and I’ve been told that the transport needs to be booked a week in advance! I have no other way of getting to the hospital.

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

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Pounds946

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 this occasion.

Our Patient Transport Service is a predominately pre-planned service; we work to a schedule that has been planned out the previous day. We are unable to 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.

Our Patient Transport Service supplys staff and vehicles to transport patients at the request of Hospitals and local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The criteria behind who would be eligable for the service, and the terms and conditions of bookings are controlled by the CCGs. It may be worth contacting your local CCG to give them the opportunity to address your concerns with the booking process.

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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