"Late ambulance has set me back"

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

(as a service user),

I arranged for an ambulance to take me from my home to Southmead Hospital where I had an appointment in the Neurology clinic this morning. The appointment was in the early morning, however circumstances out of my control meant that the ambulance did not get me to the hospital until 1 hour and 20 minutes after my appointment time.

On arriving at the clinic I was told I would not be seen as I was late. The clinic said they may be able to see me later in the day if I was prepared to wait until the clinic had actually finished – that would have meant hanging around at the hospital for about 5 hours. Because I could not do this I was told I would need to go back to my GP and ask for another referral that is to start the whole process again.

The ambulance was late, there was nothing I could do but am now paying the penalty.

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Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust

Dear Amazed208 - I was sorry to learn that you were late for your appointment at the Neurology clinic. Regrettably due to the high demand for all clinics it is not always possible to see people who missed their appointment time as this would inconvenience other patients.

I was pleased to learn that the team were able to make provision for you to be seen at the end of the clinic to try and save you the further inconvenience of re attending, but understand that it may not have been possible to take advantage of this option.

I hope that your next attendance is trouble free and the transport services are able to ensure you can keep the original appointment time.

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

Good Morning Amazed208

Thank you for taking the time to provide our service with feedback.

Our Patient Transport Service is a pre-planned service; this allows us to ensure that we have the right vehicle and support for each patient due to travel with us so they can attend their appointments.

Part of our planning process is to contact patients 48 hours before they are due to travel to ensure confirm that they are still travelling and give patients the opportunity to query any matters that may be causing concern. I'm unsure if you received this service.

Further to this call, the ambulance staff who are undertaking the journey will contact patients on the day of travel to let them know when they are likely to be arriving. I'm unsure if you received this service.

I'm afraid, I do not have enough specific information with regards to your journey to provide you with some clear feedback as to what happened that caused you to be late for your appointment. However, if you would like us to look into the matter we would be very happy to. For us to undertake an investigation we will some further information from you; therefore please may I ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team on either swast.patientexperience@nhs.uk or 01392 261 585 and a member of the team will help you further.

Thank you, again, for sharing your story.


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