"I always end up waiting a long time before going home"

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

(as a service user),

I’ve used the patient transport service on a number of occasions. I always end up waiting a long time before going home, as do many of the other people who use the service. This is often up to a couple of hours.

The reason for this is because if someone lives in a similar area to me, I always have to wait until they have had their treatment. At my last appointment, another lady came to the hospital two hours after me – I then had to wait until her appointment was finished before heading home.

After you’ve been at the hospital, you are often cold, hungry and tired. Waiting so long to be picked up when feeling like this isn’t ideal.

The drivers also often drop people off in a particular order, meaning sometimes people wait on the ambulance for a long time. On my last journey, one older lady was left on the ambulance for a long time waiting for others to be dropped off first.

I hope this feedback gets heard, as often elderly people who are going through these things don’t have a voice.

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

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Fellow269

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am sorry to hear that you feel that your wait to go home is so long.

Our Patient Transport Service is a predominately pre-planned service; we work to a schedule that has been planned out the previous day. This is to ensure that we utilise our transport as efficiently as possible and that everyone gets a vehicle that is suitable for their care needs and their mobility at the required time. This transport is often shared with more than one patient so we can made the best use of our resources, so they will be times when the journey home isn't as straight forward as you might expect.

Most clinics are able to book their patient’s transport with a known appointment time and a return time based on how long they expect them to be at their appointment. Once this journey home time has been arranged, our contract states that we have a window of time within which to collect patients to take them home - this is 2 hours. However, there will be occasions when transport might be delayed slightly due to a number of reasons, for example earlier clinic over runs, traffic congestion or vehicle breakdowns.

I understand that waiting for transport home can be frustrating. However, please be assured that when you travel with our service, our staff will always do their very best to get you home as quickly and as safely as possible.

We really appreciate all feedback from our patients, as your experiences help to inform service improvement. If you would like to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Patient Experience team on either swast.patientexperience@nhs.net or 01392 261 585.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to provide feedback.

Kind regards


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