Cancer patient denied ambulance transport for hospital treatment

PUBLISHED: 16:38 19 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

A PENSIONER suffering from cancer has been told he will have to pay almost £70 for a taxi to get to and from his home to Watford Hospital for a scan. The man in his seventies lives in Harpenden and has been given ambulance transport to and from Hemel Hemp

A PENSIONER suffering from cancer has been told he will have to pay almost £70 for a taxi to get to and from his home to Watford Hospital for a scan.

The man in his seventies lives in Harpenden and has been given ambulance transport to and from Hemel Hempstead Hospital for his chemotherapy treatments.

But when he rang to arrange similar transport for his scan at Watford Hospital he was told that he didn't qualify for the ambulance journey.

Mrs Judy Hamblin, of Overstone Road, Harpenden, and a friend of the cancer patient, said: "He used to drive but he's too frail now and his wife can't drive. He was asked if he could get into a car and when he said he could, the ambulance controller said he would have to get a cab.

"What an off-hand way to treat someone who is ill and has lost three stone in weight through his treatment."

The price quoted for a return journey from his home to Watford was around £68 from two cab firms.

A spokesperson for West Herts Primary Care Trust said that the transport service operated to clear guidelines for eligibility for NHS transport.

The criteria for eligibility include people on benefits or low incomes with savings of less than £16,000 or people resident in care homes.

She added that people not meeting the criteria for eligibility could be provided with details of other agencies able to supply transport. In some circumstances patients were entitled to reimbursement of travel costs dependent on the benefits they received.

Blob/The oncology department at Hemel Hempstead Hospital is moving to Watford in March 2009.

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