"Getting through to Patient Transport Services"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service

(as a carer),

My husband needs to travel to hospital in Inverness for appointments, scans and treatment regularly - a 110 mile trip. He's not able to travel in a car because of his condition so we rely on Patient Transport Services.

We don't have any complaint about the actual transport in the ambulance or staff but want to comment on the patient booking service. We used to call a local number but now we call an 0300 one. We don't know where that is. Getting through takes a long time and many attempts. The last time took me 20 minutes of hanging on and getting that message which says "all our operators are busy, please hold". I checked my phone bill too and one call cost me £2.02. I don't know if 0330 is a premium number but that cost is appalling and I can't afford to keep paying that.

When I eventually do get through I find the staff quite abrupt and feel am treated like I'm a nuisance.

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

Thank you for letting us know about your experience of our Patient Transport Service, and of our new booking line. I'm sorry you have had difficulty getting through to our staff, and for the attitude you experienced.

The new number is charged at local rate for callers dialling from both landline and mobile phones.

We have experienced peak calling times, when we introduced the new booking line. This did put the service under some pressure. We now have addiitonal staff in place, which should mean callers spending less time on hold.

I have passed our your feedback above, including your comments on staff attitude. I'd be really grateful if you could keep me posted on how you find the new direct booking line the next time you use it.

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Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Carer

I am really sorry to hear of your difficulties. This service is managed by Scottish Ambulance Service and I am sure they will be responding to this. We are working closely with colleagues in the Ambulance Service to bring to their attention and work together to improve patient experience.

NHS Highland has ongoing work to look at ways of improving our own customer care including our telephone manner and making sure we are focussed on being helpful no matter what else is going on. So I would be delighted to take any feed-back on NHS Highland. You can contact me on maimie.thompson@nhs.net 01463 70 4722

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