"Discharge following recent foot surgery in New Victoria"

About: Scottish Ambulance Service / Patient Transport Service Victoria Infirmary / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

The surgery and treatment on the ward was excellent, it all fell apart when it came to my discharge. On the ward the physiotherapist issued me with two Zimmer frames to allow me to cope at home but the patient ambulance service refused to transport me with the two Zimmer frames despite there being only myself and another patient in the ambulance. The ambulance personnel insisted a patient can only have one piece of equipment and a bag. What if all the patients carried more?

This caused me significant distress as I could not use my wife's stairlift to access the toilet as neither my wife, who has a profound disability, or I could manage the Zimmer frame up to the toilet, which meant I was reduced to using a basin in the kitchen. Eventually the second Zimmer arrived in a taxi. Is this saving the NHS money?

Due to stairs at my house my transfers to the hospital clinics were arranged using the patient transfer ambulance where the journey to the hospital was excellent but the journey home turned into a disaster when my clinic appointment finished late afternoon when the ambulance staff have a change of shift. This meant transport home for myself and the two other patients could be anytime from 18. 00 - 20. 00 hours and we would have no access to a tearoom or bathroom as the coordinator for the service finished early evening and we would be left in limbo with no person available to push our wheelchairs.

When I went to the fracture clinic F in the same hospital is was most frustrating that I could not gain access with out waiting for a passing individual to open the corridor and self-closing fire doors, surely a clinic which has patients likely to attend with crutches etc should have automatic doors? Also, how can you use a pedal bin with crutches? The access into the hospital and the atrium was very easy due to these areas having automatic doors.

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Responses

Response from Pat O'Meara, National Head of Ambulance Control Services, Ambulance Control Centres, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear Baha,

I am really sorry to hear that you are not happy with the service that we provided to you. We do try and get it right every single time for our patients.

There are a number of things that we do to make sure that we use our ambulances as best we can for moving patients, such as limiting the patient equipment we carry, but it sounds like you have not had a good experience of us recently.

If you contact me, I will be able to look at the arrangements that were made and explain what happened on the dates in question. I will also be able to make sure that any future arrangements are planned so that there are no more issues for you.

Pat

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Baha,

I hope that you have found the information above from Pat in the Ambulance Service useful and that you have been able to get in touch to discuss your future arrangements for patient transport.

I just wanted to pick up on a couple of points you made specifically related to the experience you had while in hospital. First of all, I am glad that your surgery and initial stay on the ward went well. It would be great if you could let me know which ward you stayed on so that I can pass on your positive comments.

I have also passed on your comments regarding access to the clinics to Facilities colleagues at the New Victoria Hospital and will get back to you with more information on that as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best with your recovery.

Lorna

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Baha,

I hope you are well and have recovered well from your recent surgery. I had said that I would look into the access to Clinic F and get some more information from my colleagues in Facilities.

The Site Facilities Manager for the New Victoria Hospital advised that there are not automatic doors at Clinic F simply because of the physical set up in this area - there is not enough space for the automatic beam which controls the doors to activate, which would mean that the doors would continuously stay open. This could cause a wind tunnel effect from the main doors into the atrium (which as you note are automatic, as these are the most frequently used doors in the hospital) and through into Clinic F.

What I will do, however, is make sure your comments have been passed on to staff at the Clinic to remind them to be aware of any patients who may have difficulty accessing the Clinic.

Your point about pedal bins is also very valid. These bins are used for infection control purposes ato prevent any cross contamination from the waste bin to hands, but I completely understand that in some cases there will be some difficulty in using them, for example if a patient is using crutches as you say.

I hope this gives you a little bit more information and explanation for those issues that you highlighted, but if you would like any more information please do not hesitate to get in touch with me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

Best Wishes,

Lorna

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