"I felt uncomfortable with the journey"

About: Cossham Hospital

(as the patient),

I was picked up in a taxi from home to the Cossham Hospital recently. The only other passenger was an elderly lady who had been picked up before me. I found the driver to be quite rude. The only conversation along the entire journey was me asking if he would also be the same driver taking us back home to which his only response was ‘No’. The other lady looked stressed and didn’t say a word, I could not understand why she wasn’t saying anything at all.

When we arrived at the hospital the driver helped me out and got my walker out of the taxi, the other lady was looking flustered as she made her way into the hospital. I told the taxi driver not to worry about me but to help the more elderly lady to which he replied that she didn’t need any help. When I got into the hospital I understood why the other lady had been so quiet, she had been frightened and worried all the time. She explained to the receptionist how the taxi driver had picked her up and, without explaining that he had to pick up another person from another village, started to drive down country lanes. The woman was, naturally, uncomfortable not knowing where she was being taken and was too scared to say anything. The lady said if the same driver was taking her back she would refuse the lift and walk instead, I shared her concern.

I’ve used the transport service several times in the past few weeks and have always found the drivers to be friendly and helpful. However, this time I felt uncomfortable the entire journey.When my appointment had ended I was waiting in reception for the driver to take me back. A taxi driver told the receptionist that he had got the other lady home all right, I knew straightaway who he was talking about and was glad to hear it.

I don't think that taxi drivers with such attitudes should be employed for hospital transport services. Going to hospital is stressful enough without being put through that kind of pressure.

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Responses

Response from Steven Sykes, Advice & Complaints Team Manager, North Bristol NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Silver2 - thank you for alerting us to this event and I apologise for the poor experience you had and regret that the poor communication of the driver caused the other patient so much distress. In the circumstances I can certainly understand why she was so worried.

I will pass on your comments to our transport department so they can liaise with the taxi firms used to raise awareness of the incident and ensure that all drivers appropriately welcome patients and explain and necessary deviations in the usual route.

Thank you again for taking the time and trouble to post the details your journey.

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