"Patient Transport Cancelled, due to lack of resources."

About: Scottish Ambulance Service / Patient Transport Service

(as a relative),

My 87 year old mother received a call from patient transport cancelling her transport for the following morning, this was due to lack of resources. She requires a two man ambulance due to her mobility and had been seen at Wishaw General who requested she see her Consultant at The Golden Jubilee due to complications. Who makes the clinical judgement on who should be cancelled due to lack of resources?

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Response from Pat O'Meara, National Head of Ambulance Control Services, Ambulance Control Centres, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Hospital,

I am very sorry that the ambulance transport for your mother was cancelled. It must have been very distressing for her, especially as it was made at short notice. There are times when the number of requests made for transport exceed the available number of ambulances and we do then have to advise patients that we cannot get them to their appointment. Before that happens we look at all available ways of getting people to hospital, including using alternative providers where available. We also ensure that ambulance control managers have oversight of any occasion where we are possibly going to say that we cannot get a patient to hospital. We do ensure, as much as possible, that we assess the needs of the patient and the treatment they are attending, before we make a decision.

Please may I again apologise for the impact that this had on your mother. If you wish to discuss this, do please contact me on 0141 810 6101 or pomeara@nhs.net.


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Update posted by Hospital (a relative)

I have emailed you directly as I feel you haven't answered my question. Is it a clinician then makes the decision on who has the greater need for the transport service? Why take so many bookings when you know you can't fulfil them?

This has an cost to the service as its a waste of a Consultant appointment as I'm sure the appointment wouldn't be filled due to the short notice and could possibly happen again.