St Albans 96-year-old misses essential hospital appointment because of ambulance delays

East of England Ambulance Service

East of England Ambulance Service - Credit: Archant

An elderly woman missed an essential hospital appointment after her ambulance was two hours late.

A 96-year-old St Albans woman, who would prefer not to be named, was booked in to see a cardiologist because her pacemaker was registering activity unusually high - up to 185 beats per minute.

Doctors want to start investigations as soon as possible after she experienced an emergency heart scare in February.

She booked transport from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) for the appointment at 2pm, but it arrived nearly two hours late, at 3.50pm.

Now, the pensioner must wait however long it takes to get another appointment, all the while worried about her racing heart.

Her daughter Dawn, who is only comfortable using her first name, said: “They were full of ‘sorry, sorry’, but that doesn’t change anything.

“One of the consultants who turned up said that in the future we should ask for a morning appointment, which is clearly twaddle because you get an appointment on the availability of the consultant.

Most Read

“She also said we should give an appointment time half an hour before. She wanted me to lie and I am not in the habit of lying.”

Dawn had already complained to EEAS after her mother had to wait more than an hour for the ambulance during her emergency in February.

The 67-year-old added: “It’s clearly unacceptable. My mother needs ambulance transport, but I can’t ask EEAS because they are quite clearly wholly unreliable.

“They have no sense of patient care and quite clearly they are not fit to transport excrement, let alone the elderly.”

For the next appointment Dawn will book a private ambulance: “I have to afford it. I am a pensioner, my mother is a pensioner. It is disgusting.”

In May this year an investigation concluded although no-one had died as a direct result of EEAS NHS Trust delays last winter, three people had been severely harmed.

The trust has been facing a number of challenges, including increased demand and financial pressures.

EEAS did not respond to requests for comment.