Patient transport services turns up six hours later to take elderly Northampton patient home from hospital appointment

The free patient transport service run by Thames turned up six hours late to collect the elderly gentleman.
The free patient transport service run by Thames turned up six hours late to collect the elderly gentleman.
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A 69-year-old man was left waiting in hospital for six hours before Northamptonshire’s new transport service turned up to take him home.

It was the last insult after a day of bungling by Thames Ambulance Service, who also delivered him to his appointment 30 minutes late and made him wait on a helpline for over half-an-hour at a time.

It comes after Thames Ambulance Service, which was criticised in every area in a recent CQC inspection, began operating the county’s non-emergency patient transport service (PTS) on July 1.

The step-daughter of the gentleman, who has asked for neither of them to be named, said: “We have never experienced service levels this poor when the service was operated by the hospital trust itself.

“They are working with the most vulnerable people in society and I am concerned about the undue stress that the poor service may place on patients.”

The PTS is a free door-to-door service that allows people who have difficulty travelling to meet their healthcare appointments.

The contract to run Northamptonshire's PTS was given to Thames after they won the contract earlier this year. the former provider, NSL Ltd, did not bid to renew the contract.

But a CQC inspection carried out at Thames' head office, in Essex, in November and December last year described the provider's service as poor, unhygienic and lacking accountability for incidents

The elderly man’s stepdaughter, who arranged the service for her step-dad, said: “I feel I don’t have any confidence in the service.

“He was left waiting for six hours and due to his condition he can’t walk 10 steps without feeling exhausted. He won’t always have someone there to help him fetch a drink or lunch.”

Thames Ambulance Service declined to comment on the incident but say the matter is being investigated.