"Long wait for the transport service"

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

I was picked up very early for a 10: 00 am appointment at the hospital, this was fine, and no problem with being picked up early.

I was early for my appointment, was seen by my surgeon very quickly and discharged. I let the receptionist know that I was done; she called the transport service to let them know, I also told her I would be waiting in the café by the main reception. This information was given to the transport service.

In the café I chose a table by the window from which I could watch out for the car. After I had finished my coffee and a sandwich I waited a while before going to the reception to check on the transport. The receptionist called the transport people again and was told the driver was on his way.

I waited over an hour again before going back to the receptionist – another phone call, this time being told the driver would be there ‘any second now’.

After another long wait I went back to the receptionist. This time the transport service told us ‘that the driver was told the patient was not ready and so he just left’. This, after three calls to the transport service!

I was eventually collected at 3: 45 by a NHS driver rather than the contracted South West Transport Service and got home at 4: 20.

I must say I was looked after by the café staff and the receptionist really well. They all cheered when my transport finally arrived!

I’m 67 and have recently had a knee replacement. I wouldn't like to think how an older more infirm person would cope.

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

Hi Leaf913

Thank you taking the time to provide us with feedback. I am very sorry that you had to wait to be taken home.

Our Patient Transport Service is a predominately pre-planned service; we work to a schedule that has been planned out the previous day. Unfortunately, we are unable to send a vehicle out as soon as a patient is ready and must abide to the times provided beforehand.

Naturally there are times when our vehciles 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 you home as soon as possible.

From your description of events it would appear that there may have been some confusion over when your driver was going to arrive. We would be able to investigate what happened on this occassion, if you would like us to, but to do this will need some specific details from you. 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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