"Patient transport at East Surrey Hospital"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Older people's healthcare South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a carer),

My elderly mother aged 88, confused and extremely anxious, was ready to be discharged - this involved going straight to a care home rather than returning to her own home, so obviously this was a major step involving an extra amount of anxiety and confusion.

Transport was booked for 4pm, to cut a long story short it eventually arrived at 10:30pm - at which time I refused it on her behalf. What was so bad was that I was told that if she was not discharged that night, she would still have to be moved to the discharge unit - yet another confusing location. I was determined that she should not be moved late at night and the ward staff backed me up on this, but the hospital site manager was extremely unhelpful and was insisting that my mother would have to be moved late at night one way or another, until by about 10pm it became clear I was not going to leave until I had an assurance that my mother would not be moved, and helpfully to my case at that point the discharge unit was full.

What shocked me so much was that staff were clearly so used to the idea that transport routinely arrived hours later than expected, and that elderly and confused patients might be moved late at night, that it no longer shocked them! My mother was obviously not a person as far as the site manager was concerned, but just a bed.

I have heard plenty of horror stories worse than mine regarding the transport of the elderly from East Surrey and am going to compile a log of such incidents.

If anyone has anything to add to this, perhaps they could contact me via this site?

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Responses

Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'Hilary Clix'

I am sorry to hear about the delay in your mother's transport. I have forwarded your comment to South East Coast Ambulance Service for information as they are responsible for patient transfers. I understand that it is very unsettling for patients and extremely frustrating for the family when such delays occur. We are working with the ambulance staff to reduce delays as we recognise it is much better for the patient and for the hospital when discharges are timely and efficient.

I am very sorry about your mother's experience and hope that she is now settled and feeling more comfortable.

If you would like to talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service to discuss this further, please contact the team on 01737 231958 or email pals@sash.nhs.uk.

Many thanks,

Eloise Clarke

Communications Manager

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Response from Louise Hutchinson, Patient Experience Lead, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Mr/Ms Crix

I am so sorry to hear of the problems you and your mother experienced with the Patient Transport Service recently and we would like to have the opportunity to look into events for you to determine exactly what caused those problems. Would you mind contacting our PALS Officer Sheila Colbran, either by email to sheila.colbran@secamb.nhs.uk or by telephone to 01273 484830 between 11am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Thank you very much for alerting us to these problems and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely, Louise Hutchinson

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Response from East Surrey Hospital

Response from East Surrey Hospital: I am sorry to hear about the delay in your mother's transport. I have forwarded your comment to South East Coast Ambulance Service for information as they are responsible for patient transfers. I understand that it is very unsettling for patients and extremely frustrating for the family when such delays occur. We are working with the ambulance staff to reduce delays as we recognise it is much better for the patient and for the hospital when discharges are timely and efficient. I am very sorry about your mother's experience and hope that she is now settled and feeling more comfortable. If you would like to talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service to discuss this further, please contact the team on 01737 231958 or email pals@sash.nhs.uk. Response from South East Coast Ambulance Service: I am so sorry to hear of the problems you and your mother experienced with the Patient Transport Service recently and we would like to have the opportunity to look into events for you to determine exactly what caused those problems. Would you mind contacting our PALS Officer Sheila Colbran, either by email to sheila.colbran@secamb.nhs.uk or by telephone to 01273 484830 between 11am and 3pm, Monday to Friday. Thank you very much for alerting us to these problems and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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