"the ambulance was not rebooked "

About: Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust / Patient transport service University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My wife attends the oncology department at Bristol hospital and the patient transport has been marvellous, however yesterday we had a problem. The man in the ambulance suggested I contact Patient Opinion as the ambulance service wanted to know about any issues.

We arrived for my wife’s appointment at 16.15 and the ambulance was booked for an hour later. Unfortunately my wife had a fall so we missed the ambulance.

At 17.40 the department was closing but we had been assured another ambulance had been booked for use and we went back up to the ward. We were not told how long the ambulance would be and every time I queried this no one was able to answer me.

At 19.20 I said I wanted an answer from the nurse. The sister went to find out how long the ambulance would be. She came back and said the ambulance had never been rebooked for us. This meant we had to start again and rebook the ambulance to take us home.

The sister showed me the screen that showed the ambulance had been booked but it seems like the service didn’t receive it. We did not get an ambulance home until after 21.00. The sister took our details and said they would look into it for us.

We don’t mind having to wait for an ambulance if you know how long you need to wait for but no one at the hospital knew how long it would be and then it turns out it wasn’t even rebooked.

In the past we have always found the service and the staff brilliant from the hospital and ambulance service.

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Response from Operations Manager for PTS, Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

I am very sorry to hear of the unfortunate circumstances experienced by you and your wife and I sincerely hope you have both recovered from your ordeal.

I have read your comments carefully and it would appear that Great Western Ambulance Service was not responsible for the failure to re-book your return transport. Having said that we are always concerned when we hear about occurrences that have a detrimental effect on our patients and the service we are trying to provide.

What should have happened when it became apparent that your wife was not going to be ready was her transport should have been cancelled as soon as possible. A new ‘ready time’ should have been given to the Patient Transport Operations Centre at this time or as soon as possible afterwards. Rescheduled transport bookings or bookings made on-the-day can take up to 4 hours to facilitate within the specification so it is really important to ensure this happens.

My advice for the future would be to always ask if you are unsure of what is happening and don’t hesitate to check anything that gives you any cause for concern.

I hope you or your wife do not experience a repeat of these events and that any future journeys to and from hospital are a little less arduous next time.

Please accept my best wishes and thank you for posting your comments on Patient Opinion.