"Hospital transport services. Failure to show up"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

I am very disappointed and angry with the service that I received today from the hospital transport department.

Background facts are that I am a long term attender at the Anti Coagulation Clinic, the staff of which have always treated me with respect and courtesy. I have always attended having made my own way.

On Friday 4th September I underwent knee replacement surgery at Orpington(for Kings) Hospital I was discharged from Orpington on 8th September.

My doctor at Orpington made me an appointment to attend the anti-coag clinic for Friday 11th at 11.30am. I was not able to attend due to immobility due to pain. I rely on public transport due to visual impairment.

On Friday I called the anti-coag clinic and left an urgent message. I was called back and it was decided that my son would collect extra self-administered injections to cover me to today, with an appointment re-scheduled for 2.00pm today. (I had been discharged from Orpington with a limited supply of injections.)

After making the appointment I called the Hospital Transport Department and had a difficult and lengthy call. I was told that my post code was not on the system. I gave my full address, telephone number and details of today,s appointment. I have never had to book an ambulance before, so, when I was asked to call again after 12.00 mid-day to confirm (apparently).

Today I first spoke to a member of staff who was surprised that I had been asked to call again. I do not know the system. As it was only 12.20pm the member of staff suggested I wait by my window for transport to arrive. I did. No show.

When I called back to Hospital Transport I spoke to a different person, who wanted to know my booking number? I did not get one. This person then called Lewisham who said that they had no record of my Friday call. The person spoke to a colleague, who commented out of my hearing but there was an implication that I had never called. I took offence to this and said that I am no liar and no idiot.

Subsequently, with much help from the first member of staff, I have managed to re-arrange transport and attendance for tomorrow at 12.00 noon.

In summary, I think staff on Friday assumed either that I would call again today (as I did) and arrange transport which I was under the impression had already been booked. It has taken a lot of time on the telephone to resolve this issue.

Had your staff been more attentive and actually booked the transport when I called for that purpose instead of assuming I would call again later, a lot of time energy and stress could have been saved. In all, apart from the one member of staff's not inconsiderable efforts in assisting me to sort out an abject mess, I believe the customer service I have received has been very poor.

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

On behalf of the trust I would like to apologise for the poor customer service you have received from the Hospital Transport Department. In order for us to fully investigate this matter please could you contact Lewisham PALS on 020 8333 3355 or email pals.lewisham@nhs.net

Jane Coomber NEPTS Nurse Advisor Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

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