"Appalling wait"

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

(as a relative),

I am 70 and my husband is 76. He is extremely ill with terminal cancer and under treatment from both Weston-Super-Mare hospital and the BRI. When He needs to go to the Weston hospital I am able to take him in the car but for the longer journeys to Bristol he really needs an ambulance with a stretcher service.

Yesterday he had an appointment at the BRI for a pre-op assessment and I duly booked an ambulance to get us to the hospital. Getting to the hospital and being seen for our appointment all went like clockwork. However, after this the experience was appalling.

The nurse contacted the ambulance service to let them know our appointment was over and that we were ready for collection – this was at 11: 45. We were told the ambulance would not be able to collect us till 2: 00 – this was disappointing but we accepted the situation.

By 3: 00pm the ambulance had still not arrived, in fact we waited till 6: 45pm before the ambulance finally arrived and then another hour before we were home. The nurses were as distressed as we were, they would have put my husband on a ward in a bed had they known it was going to be such a long wait. I had taken enough medication, mainly pain killers for my husband to keep him going till 3: 00pm, I had assumed a round trip of no more than 6 hours for an 11. 00 am appointment and had taken enough to see us through from 9: 00am – 3: 00pm.

I want to be clear that the treatment we had at the hospital and the ambulance crew were second to none. I do have an issue with the person behind the desk who decided it was ok for us to be kept waiting for 6 hours for an ambulance, knowing that my husband was seriously ill. We were both extremely stressed, my husband had to tolerate pain unnecessarily and was exhausted as a consequence of the appalling wait. Who makes these decisions and on what basis?

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

Dear Attentive982

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.

I am sorry that you and your husband had a difficult time getting home after your appointment.

In order to address your question we will need a little more specific information. If you are happy to do so, may I ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team on either patient.experience@swast.nhs.uk or 01392 261 585 and a member of the team will be happy to help you further.

Thank you, again, for providing our service with feedback.

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