Patient’s anger as he is denied transport to QA

FRUSTRATED Raymond Ractliffe missed a hospital appointment after being told by the patient transport service he could not be given a lift because he uses an electric wheelchair       Picture: Sarah Standing (150795-8675)
FRUSTRATED Raymond Ractliffe missed a hospital appointment after being told by the patient transport service he could not be given a lift because he uses an electric wheelchair Picture: Sarah Standing (150795-8675)
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A PATIENT say he feels let down after being stranded by an ambulance trust’s transport service – because he has an electric wheelchair.

Despite using the service on three previous occasions, Raymond Ractliffe was stunned when he was told by crews they would be unable to take him to Queen Alexandra Hospital for a medical appointment because of his electric wheelchair.

Mr Ractliffe was not given a reason why he was denied transport and is still waiting for an explanation.

The retired firefighter was forced to give up the job he loved after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago.

Over the years the condition has become worse and now Mr Ractliffe relies on his wheelchair to get around and uses a catheter.

The 58-year-old, of Locks Road, Locks Heath, said: ‘I had an appointment with the urology department at 1.40pm in QA.

‘The transport service arrived at 1pm and it was the same crew and same vehicle that I had been in three times previously.

‘But this time they said they wouldn’t be able to take my electric wheelchair and then shortly afterwards left.

‘I rang my doctor to find out what to do and I was told I needed to get to my appointment.’

Mr Ractliffe spoke to the service and eventually a second vehicle was sent out.

However he did not get to QA until 4.45pm and was too late.

Mr Ractliffe, who served at both Cosham and Southsea fire stations, added: ‘I feel totally let down by the service.

‘By the time I got to the hospital it was simply too late; I don’t understand why they couldn’t take me.

‘The same crew had taken me to QA and even to Southampton on one occasion earlier this year.’

The patient transport service is run by South Central Ambulance Service (Scas), which said it encourages Mr Ractliffe to contact them if he is unhappy.

A Scas spokesman said: ‘We are unable to comment on individual patients.

‘When any patient journey doesn’t go as expected, we take it very seriously and we would like to apologise for the distress caused.

‘We would encourage the patient to contact our patient experience team with full details so a thorough investigation can be initiated. We remain committed to providing the best care for patients across Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.’

Steve Taylor, manager of patient watchdog group Healthwatch Hampshire, said Mr Ractliffe should have an explanation.

He said: ‘Scas owe him a reason and make sure they learn from patient experience.’