"A very stressful experience"

About: Bristol Royal Infirmary / Accident and emergency Bristol Royal Infirmary / Trauma and orthopaedics South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Patient transport service (PTS)

(as the patient),

Last November I had an appointment at the Bristol Royal Infirmary for an operation related to spina bifida. I booked an ambulance through the South West Ambulance Service to take me to the hospital, somehow two ambulances were sent out.

The first one arrived and took me to the hospital, shortly afterwards a second ambulance arrived but because I was not there to respond the ambulance driver called the police thinking I was in the house and in difficulty. The police broke a window to get in, I had to pay for the repairs when I got out of hospital.

In March I had a fall in the house and used the security cord to call for help. When the ambulance arrived they decided to take me to the BRI for further checks. I was told I would not need my wheel chair or walker or anything as I would be returned home in an ambulance.

In the event I was discharged at 3:00am, no arrangements were made to bring me home and I was left to make my own way back. I live about 20 miles from the BRI, I was wearing my slippers and did not have a coat or my purse and felt very vulnerable at the bus stop in the middle of the night, in the cold.

I had no money. I was very lucky that a kind Samaritan gave me £5 to get myself on a bus and get home to bed. If the ambulance drivers say they will bring you back they should do so.

A couple or so days later I had another fall and again I used the security cord to call for help. On this occasion the two ambulance people who came did not know what spina bifida is, one of them asked the other to Google it to find out more. I found this unacceptable.

They did not examine me to check I had not hurt myself or broken any bones as I also suffer from brittle bones. I had to ask them to check my spine as this was painful. I refused to be taken to hospital on this occasion having had such a stressful experience just days earlier.

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Response from Laura Martin, Patient Engagement Administrator, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Ebb874

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I am so sorry to hear that you have found these so stressful.

We would welcome the opportunity to look into your concerns. Please could you contact our Patient Experience team on 01392 261585 or email patientexperience@swast.nhs.uk, at your convenience, to discuss the above incidents and arrange for an investigation to take place?

Thank you again for taking the time to provide feedback on our services.

Kind regards


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Response from Bristol Royal Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We are sorry to hear about your experiences. If you would like to contact SW Ambulance Service to talk about these matters more you can do so here: http://www.swast.nhs.uk/ If you would like to speak to our patient support and complaints team please do contact them: 0117 342 1050 / pals@uhbristol.nhs.uk. Thank you.

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