Disabled man angry at patient transport which never arrived

A DISABLED man missed two hospital appointments after an ambulance failed to turn up to take him to Conquest.

Geoff Heath-Coleman, who lives in St Martins in Battle, was left waiting outside in his electric wheelchair for more than 40 minutes for prearranged hospital transport, which never turned up.

And on the second occasion the ambulance was running so late the crew called the Conquest in Hastings to cancel Mr Heath-Coleman’s appointment - without telling him.

The 61-year-old has a double spinal fracture and a stroke has left him paralysed down his left side.

He was due to attend a chiropody appointment at the Conquest on August 7 after suffering from an ulcer on his left foot.

But 40 minutes after his appointment was scheduled, Mr Heath-Coleman was still waiting for the patient transport to pick him up.

After calling the service, Mr Heath-Coleman was told there was no record of the booking.

He said: “They tell you they have made an appointment for you and the girl there says we have no appointments at Hastings at all.

“It’s not as if I can just jump up and get myself cleaned and dressed quickly.”

A new appointment was made for 2.10pm on August 14.

But after being kept waiting until 2.30pm, Mr Heath-Coleman called the patient transport service again, only to be told the service was running so late it had called the Conquest on his behalf to cancel the appointment.

He said: “The excuse was they were running so late they did not have time to take me. They rang chiropody and cancelled the appointment because they were running late, but did not tell me.”

He added: “Things are going to go from bad to worse when they move all the departments around. They wouldn’t know if they were coming or going.”

Mr Heath-Coleman said he still has the same dressing on his foot which was applied during a visit to Martins Oak Surgery in Battle three weeks ago.

A new appointment has been made for the Conquest Hospital on August 28.

Mr Heath-Coleman has previously used the patient transport service for other appointments without any problems.

A spokesperson for NHS Sussex said: “We are very sorry to hear about Mr Heath-Coleman’s particular experience of the patient transport service, and it does not match the standard of service we would expect for our patients.

“We are working closely with the providers of patient transport to look at what happened to make sure that together we can prevent it from happening again.

“We would like to assure Mr Heath-Coleman and our patients across the region, that what was experienced is very rare and that we are working to ensure that all of our patients receive a high quality, effective service.”

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has no record of an appointment being made on August 7 but is sorry that it was unable to transport Mr Heath-Coleman for his appointment on August 14. The crew was unexpectedly delayed and therefore unable to meet the appointment time assigned to Mr Health-Coleman.

“The crew notified the hospital of this and efforts were also made to contact Mr Heath-Coleman and inform him.”