"Long wait to be collected"

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

(as a relative),

We had booked the transport service to get my husband from home to the Southmead hospital for an appointment. Getting there was fine, getting back was another thing.

After the checks on my husband had been completed the nurses were just helping him back into his wheelchair when the ambulance people came to collect us. The nurses explained they were almost done but the ambulance crew just said they couldn’t wait and left. Because they had not been prepared just to wait a few minutes we then had to wait for 3 1/2 hours before we were collected.

The nurses were very helpful, surprised that the crew had not been prepared to wait for just a few minutes when they were so close to getting my husband ready, they called the transport station 2 or 3 times to ask when we would be collected.

This is the first time we have used the transport service and would need to think twice before recommending it to other people in case they have the same experience.

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

Good Morning Edge749

Thank you for taking the time to share your story.I am very sorry to hear about your transport delay.

Our non-emergency ambulance service is predominantly a 'pre-planned' service, that is to say that we plan all the journeys 24 hours before they take place. This is to ensure that we utilise our transport as efficiently as possible and that everyone gets transport that is suitable for their care needs and their mobility. Any new bookings, or altered pick up times can be challenging to accomodate, as it relies on a vehicle being available at that time.

On this occasion it appears that your transport home had to be re-booked. Our contractual obligations for these types of bookings are to pick patients up within 4 hours and 45 minutes of receiving the request, but we always try to arrange transport as early as we can.

Unforeseen delays in clinics are very unfortunate. Our contract agreement states that ambulance crews are only allowed to wait for a very short period of time for patients coming out of clinics, as waits have a significant impact on other patients that may be travelling with you or after you with that ambulance crew.

I hope this explanation goes some way to giving you an understanding of what may have happened. However, if you would like us to look into the events surrounding your transport on this day please contact our Patient Experience team on either swast.patientexperience@nhs.net or 01392 261 585.

Thank you, again for sharing your story.


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