Pensioners wait six hours for patient transport

Eric Wood - unhappy about patient transport service for his wife. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160705-192947008
Eric Wood - unhappy about patient transport service for his wife. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160705-192947008
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A pensioner has criticised a private patient transport service after he and his ‘fragile’ wife were forced to wait for six hours at Worthing Hospital.

Eric Wood, 80, and his wife Ann, 78, of Alinora Crescent, Goring, attended the hospital last week to discover if Ann’s treatment for cancer had been successful.

Ann was given the all-clear and transferred to Zachary Merton Hospital in Rustington to undergo further treatment to aid recovery.

The couple had booked private firm Coperforma to take them at 12.30pm, but 
the transport arrived six hours late.

Eric said: “We had just been told that my wife had been cleared from cancer.

“We were celebrating and then this happened.

“My wife is very fragile, because she has just come out of chemotherapy, and she is on a lot of medication. The chemo has affected all of her nerve endings.

“She can only walk 15 paces and she has always got to have someone behind her.

“She was in a lot of distress at the time and for a husband to see his wife like that is not a nice feeling. It was very distressing for me.

“I had to ask reception what was going on and they told me they could not get through to the driver.”

Coperforma now runs patient transport services for the NHS across Sussex.

In January, the company was given a four year contract by Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) worth £50million.

The contract started on April 1, when the firm took over from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) but so far has come under fire from patients.

SECAmb said the changes would mean the 190 road staff and managers’ roles were ‘potentially at risk’.

Coperforma recently apologised for letting down patients who missed appointments and operations due to delays.

The GMB union has also criticised the new provider over lack of planning, engagement and openness with staff.

A spokesman for Coperforma told the Herald & Gazette: “We apologise for the delay experienced and the distress this has caused to those involved.

“If your correspondent would provide their contact and journey details, we will investigate what has gone wrong here and report back direct to those involved.”

Coperforma provides the service through its own patient booking hub, using transport providers, which the CCGs said may or may not include SECAmb.

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