94-year-old blind man’s four-hour hospital wait

George Fraser and his son Peter in his front room

George Fraser and his son Peter in his front room - Credit: Archant

THE son of a blind pensioner was left “disgusted” after his hospitalised 94-year-old dad had to wait four hours for patient transportation to return him home.

Peter Fraser, whose father George was admitted to Lister Hospital with an ear infection, has criticised the hospital’s patient transport contractor for its tardy service.

He explained that when George visited the Stevenage-based hospital on Wednesday August 14, a consultant admitted him as he was suffering a severe ear infection and was in a lot of pain.

After remaining in hospital five days he was discharged on Monday, August 19. But George had to sit in the departure section for three hours from 5.30pm, awaiting patient transportation home.

Peter was unable to drive him to his home in Colney Heath as he suffers night blindness.

He praised caring nursing staff in the section who continually offered his elderly father cups of tea and sandwiches, and repeatedly phoned the transport contractor to find out when he would be picked up.

George was finally taken by wheelchair to the front entrance at about 8.30pm where he had to wait a further hour.

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Peter said: “Dad was really fed up and getting quite irritable about it, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

“The nurses were very good, but I’m disgusted with the transport service.

“He was upset having to wait and when we came home he just went straight to bed – he didn’t want anything to eat he was so upset.

“I rang up the transport contractor the next morning to complain and they told me if I didn’t like it, I should have got a private taxi home.”

But Peter explained that as his dad was elderly, blind and temporarily deaf because of the ear infection, he felt it was safer to go by transport that was arranged by the hospital.

He added: “I wasn’t very happy about their response.”

Chief executive of East and North Herts NHS Trust Nick Carver said he was “very disappointed” to learn about George’s long wait.

He added: “The contractor involved provides these services across Hertfordshire and we manage our part of the contract very carefully.

“I am very concerned to learn that a 94-year-old blind man waited for four hours without explanation as to what was happening from our contractors.”

He has urged Peter to lodge his complaint directly with the trust rather than the transport contractor, so it can be formally investigated by themselves.

Mr Carver added: “The great work of our staff at the Lister can be undone if our patients experience problems getting home due to delays with the patient transport service.

“Once George or his son makes contact, we will take their concerns up with the contractor and ensure they get the answers they deserve.

“Across Hertfordshire the process has begun to select a new contractor for patient transport services and high on our list of priorities will be to ensure that patients get the same high quality service that they do in our hospitals.”