"Carers no longer allowed to travel with patients"
About: Scottish Ambulance Service / Patient Transport Service Scottish Ambulance Service Patient Transport Service EH12 9EB
Posted by colmcam (as ),
My Wife has terminal cancer and is recovering from hip replacement surgery. She recently booked Patient Transport from home with the Scottish Ambulance Service for her appointment with her Oncology Consultant at the Dumfries Royal Infirmary. Both she and I (as her carer) were shocked to be told that carers were no longer allowed to travel with patients to hospital appointments as this had resulted in "patients missing appointments" in the past.
I checked the Scottish Ambulance Service website which had no details at all about this change in policy and in fact states on several pages that carers can travel with patients. I then phoned the Scottish Ambulance Service and the woman who answered told me that the policy had in fact recently changed because patients were missing appointments, therefore carers should find their own way there. She declined to comment further regarding the justification for the change of policy or for the fact that this was not reflected in the information on the website.
I believe this change of policy demeans the vital role which many carers play in supporting patients. Leaving sick people to travel for long and sometimes arduous journeys without the emotional and practical support which a carer can give is surely not justifiable, nor is the blithe assumption that a carer can easily find their own way to an appointment. Given that the Scottish Ambulance Service is part of the Scottish NHS and therefore the ultimate responsibility of the Scottish Government I will certainly also make my feelings known to my various local and national representatives.