St Albans patient, 83, endures three hour ‘magical mystery tour’ to Lister Hospital

Peter Evans uses a hospital provided shuttle transport to attend regular hospital appointments but h

Peter Evans uses a hospital provided shuttle transport to attend regular hospital appointments but has been suffering with lengthy delays due to poor planning - Credit: Archant

It is feared that local patients are routinely enduring long and debilitating delays with their hospital transport after an 83 year old St Albans man was taken on a three-hour-long “magical mystery tour”.

Peter Evans has received an apology from Medical Services Ltd, an independent ambulance service which provides non-emergency transport, after complaining about a string of long delays before and after surgery.

In July, he was fitted with a new half-hip at Lister Hospital after breaking a bone in his thigh.

Afterwards he had to rely on ambulance transport, initially with a wheelchair, to take him between his home and St Albans City Hospital for dialysis treatment, as squeezing into his car could have resulted in his new half-hip becoming dislocated.

But he was forced to wait for up to three hours at a time because of delays with the patient transport service, which left him “hungry and with an uncomfortable broken thigh which was done no good at all”.

Then, on November 3 he had to return to Lister Hospital for surgery, to increase the too-slow flow of blood in his forearm for dialysis.

The octogenarian had to be ready for the ambulance at 5.30am, but it did not arrive until 7.05am.

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As another patient on board had an appointment at Harefield Hospital, miles away and in the opposite direction to Stevenage, the ambulance went there first, arriving before 9am.

So he did not reach Lister until about 10am, a three-hour-long trek which Peter described as a “magical mystery tour”.

Following surgery an ambulance was ordered for 4pm, but did not arrive until about 8pm.

Peter said: “Failings of the ambulance service I have experienced are the result of control room operations, not through any failings by drivers. It was ridiculous that I had to be taken to Harefield Hospital from St Albans, to deliver a patient there first before going to the Lister, when [that patient’s] appointment was after mine.

“The wellbeing of patients is disregarded.”

Peter complained to St Albans MP Anne Main, who intervened on his behalf and after discussing his distress over the lengthy transport delays has won an apology from Medical Services Ltd.

The firm explained to him that on one occasion a third party crew from Ealing was used, but Medical Services Ltd has recently recruited more staff to reduce the need to use third party providers.

At the beginning of October, an experienced controller was put in place to specifically manage renal dialysis journeys, who now has a dedicated team of renal dialysis drivers.

Peter was told that the level of service he received was not acceptable, and steps were being taken to ensure it did not happen again.

He told the Herts Advertiser: “Long-suffering patients will get better service now, I hope.”