"I missed a critical appointment because the ambulance was late"

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

(as a service user),

I had a critical appointment bringing two of my consultants together to look at the future treatment I needed. It took time to organize as consultants are busy and to find a mutually convenient time in their diaries was challenging.

On the day of the appointment, which was from 1: 30 – 3: 00pm, I was up at 6: 00 am to ensure I was ready in good time for the SW ambulance service to collect me and take me to the hospital. The ambulance did not arrive at my Weston seafront home until 1: 25pm. The driver called the consultants and asked whether it would be worth me going to the hospital given I would be late for the appointment in Bristol. The consultants said they would wait for me.

I think they assumed I would be going straight to the hospital but, in fact, the ambulance had two other patients to be taken to two other hospitals before I would be taken to my appointment.

Whilst the second patient was being dropped off a call came through from the consultants that I should be taken back home.

My GP arranged the transport for me and has done so previously, usually well in advance so I’m not sure what went wrong here.

I perfectly understand that things can go wrong but feel frustrated on this occasion, when it was important for me to get two busy consultants together and agree a way forward for me, that I was not able to make it.

I don’t want my file to state that I was a ‘no show’ when it was out of my hands.

I don’t want this to be seen as a complaint, SW ambulance do a good job. However, in this instance would like SW ambulance to send a letter of apology to both of the consultants as I feel their time has been wasted. I’d also like the letter to be copied to me.

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

Hi Lawn58

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I can understand that you were frustrated to miss what was a very important appointment for you.

We would welcome the opportunity to investigate what happened on this occassion for you, however to do this we will need some further specific information from you. May I ask you to contact our Patient Experience team on either SWAST.patientexperience@nhs.net or 01392 261 585 and a member of the team will be very happy to help you.

Thank you, again, for providing us with feedback.


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