"Helpful crew but poor communication"

About: Princess Alexandra Eye Pavillion Scottish Ambulance Service

(as a relative),

I am the wife and sole carer of a severely disabled 77 year old who requires fairly regular transportation to various hospitals (mainly Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion) to have treatment for a cancerous tumour. He requires a two-man ambulance crew with a carry chair to facilitate his descent down one floor with a view to transferring him to his specially adapted wheelchair.

On two occasions we have been informed that his wheelchair had not been booked on to the ambulance resulting in their being unable to transport him (this despite my having checked (twice) that the hospital had definitely specified that the chair was required and had to be transported on the ambulance). On the first occasion, after some negotiation, it was agreed that, at my suggestion, the folded wheelchair could be transported with my husband using one of the ambulance seats which, considering the extent of his disability, was extremely difficult, uncomfortable and inconvenient for him. On the most recent occasion the same arrangement was eventually agreed but, this time, there was no room for even the folded wheelchair! This meant using one of the hospital wheelchairs which was totally unsuitable in his condition.

I attach no blame to the ambulance crews for this debacle - they did all in their power to be of assistance. It seems that the fault lies with the whatever kind of organisation arranges the allocation of transport.

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Response from Sharon Hammell, Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Evita

thank you for taking the time to share your husband's experience. I am really sorry about the communication breakdown, wherever it arose. I can appreciate that this must have been difficult for your husband and very frustrating for you, too, as his carer.

I've tried making some informal enquiries based our your description above, so we can improve the situation. I'm not making much headway. Would you mind contacting me at National Headquarters, please, so I can obtain more detail from you. Once I have that, we will look into the issue to make sure future appointments we meet your husband's needs for future appointments.

I hope you will get in touch. I can be contacted on 0131 314 0000.

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