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Terminally ill man stranded for hours
THE FAMILY of a terminally-ill Swindon pensioner have claimed he was left stranded for nearly 10 hours after a transport firm failed to pick him up from an Oxford hospital following surgery.
Colin Daley, 68, from Westlea, was admitted to John Radcliffe to have a tumour on his foot removed on December 20.
The pensioner, who sufferers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and needs to be connected to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day, was due to be driven home at 4pm in one of the Arriva’s non-emergency ambulances following the operation.
His wife Marlene, 67, and daughter Nicola, 40, who had accompanied him, set off from the hospital at 3.45pm to ensure they reached Swindon before him.
As he had still not arrived home at 8pm, his concerned relatives got in touch with the hospital demanding he be taken to Swindon as soon as possible.
But the private firm, which recently took over all non-emergency transport for the NHS, did not arrive at John Radcliffe until 1am, by which point Colin had been moved to another ward and Arriva staff were unable to locate him.
Finally, at 1.30am the hospital agreed to find Colin a bed for the night. He was driven home the next day by Arriva at 9.20am.
Marlene, who became her husband’s full-time carer two years ago, said the traumatic experience has impacted on his health as she found him disoriented and frightened when he eventually returned to Westlea.
While furious at what she called Arriva’s incompetence, she said she was also disappointed with the hospital’s reaction to the mix-up and unwillingness to help.
Marlene said: “At 1am my daughter was advised that Arriva was unable to locate my husband and the hospital were unclear as to where he was. They spent 45 minutes looking for him at which point they had to leave.
“At 8.50am on Saturday morning, after a very restless night, I received a call from John Radcliffe advising me that Colin would be on the transport for that day and they would contact once he had been collected.
“Colin arrived home at 10.30am and was very disorientated, scared and very tired.
“I believe this to be an issue which needs highlighting as a serious fault in our NHS system where they’ve outsourced services. A ten-hour delay for transport in any patient is bad enough but in a patient where he is terminally ill and has weeks to live is absolutely disgusting.
“This has caused a decline in Colin’s health as he was made to sit in a wheelchair for nearly 10 hours whereby he normally spends most of the day sleeping.”
An Arriva spokesman said the situation stemmed from a mix-up with the hospital meaning Colin had not been booked in to be picked up as a matter of urgency.
“For a patient’s return non-emergency transport journey to be undertaken, the hospital must ensure the patient is ‘booked ready’ with our control room, either over the telephone or online,” he said.
“We understand that this is a change in practice for many NHS staff and we are committed to working with them to support this change. Our priority is to ensure that patients do not experience any disruption and as such we are sorry to hear that such distress was caused.”
A John Radcliffe spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about Mr Daley’s experience with patient transport from one of our hospitals.
“We regret any distress that this experience caused Mr Daley and his family; this is not the high standard of care we seek to provide for our patients.”
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