"Not being picked up. (twice)"

About: Arriva Transport Solutions Limited Chesterfield Royal Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I had an appointment ar Chesterfield (Calow) Hospital about lunchtime. Given previous problems, I rang the day before to confirm that all was well for my appointment, and for the transport. I was assured that all was in place.

On the day, as required I was ready and waiting an hour before the appointment.

I waited and waited. About 5 minutes before my app't time, I rang the department who assured me again that transport was booked and should be with me any time soon.

Of course, it wasn't, and it never did turn up. Nor did anyone bother to tell me why.

An alternative app't was arranged, and transport did turn up, but this time, due to 'Health and Safety', they refused to take me. I am a wheelchair user and I suffer from peripheral neuropathy which means that due to pain and reduced strength in my hands and arms, I need to use my one remaining leg to propel and steer my chair.

Health and Safety says that I have to have footrests fitted as I might apparently break my ankle, or have it broken for me during transport. No figures were available to show the numbers who had been thus damaged before 'Health and Safety', but the real fact, as opposed to the imagined is that I have had thousands of journeys without so much as a bruise or a sprain, never mind a broken ankle.

Crocodile tears all round of course, but the impression given was that all concerned had little or no interest in fulfilling their required function, of getting me to my appointment. If anything, they were quite smug about the whole situation.

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Response from Laura Croft, Communications Officer, Arriva Transport Solutions Limited

I am very sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced. We do have a requirement for patients traveling in their wheelchair to have their foot rests down and in position whilst traveling on our vehicles for safety. This should have been discussed at the booking stage. I suspect that because the clinic or ward booked your transport the person making the booking may not have been fully aware of your mobility needs. I would like to look into the details of what happened on the day so that I can understand what caused these problems for you and take action to ensure that you do not have any future problems when using the patient transport service to get to hospital. Please email me arrivatransportsolutions@arriva.co.uk with your contact number and the best time to call.

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Update posted by Clanner (the patient)

Thank you for taking an interest. If you do a little research, you will find that this is not the first time this, or similar has happened. My problems and conditions are well known to both the hospital, and the transport providers. I would be most interested to know how many accidents or incidents have been recorded nationally and locally involving the non-use of footrests, also any other factors considered when arriving at this policy. I can personally attest to several thousand journeys without incident. I wonder whether your policy is the result of boredom, 'jobsworth' and lack of useful employment rather than logical consideration?.

Given that I cannot use my chair with footrests (There is a recorded incident of my falling quite badly while tripping over the footrest during transfer at N.General), and you cannot transport me without them, it is hard to conceive a solution.

Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital

I am really disappointed to read your post and can appreciate the frustration you must feel that this has happened to you on not just one, but two ocassions. It is also disappointing to see your comments about how you felt staff reacted. This is not the service we expect our patients to be offered, nor provided with and I'm sorry you felt you were given the impression that 'no-one was interested'. It would be really good to get some more details from you, so that we can raise this with the non-emergency transport contractors we have here at the hospital - and more importantly to ensure that you are not at any health risk from missing these appointments. I wonder if you would be able to call our complaints and assistance service at a convenient time? They are open Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm and I will pass this post on to them, so they can expect your call. The number is 01246 512640. In the meantime please accept my apologies and my thanks for sharing your experience. I hope we can help to put things right. Best wishes Sarah Turner-Saint, Head of Communications

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