Horsham patient left ‘traumatised’ after transport firm’s failure

Horsham resident John Cheal had to wait 3 hours before getting picked up by patient transport Coperforma which eventually took him to hospital. Pictured here with his wife Diana. Pic Steve Robards  SR1613794 SUS-160516-140810001

Horsham resident John Cheal had to wait 3 hours before getting picked up by patient transport Coperforma which eventually took him to hospital. Pictured here with his wife Diana. Pic Steve Robards SR1613794 SUS-160516-140810001

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A woman says her husband has been left ‘traumatised’ after a patient transport company failed to pick him up from hospital.

John Cheal, 84, from Horsham, had an appointment at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford on May 6.

He booked a trip for himself and his wife, Diana, with patient transport company Coperforma two days before.

The pair were told they needed to be ready two hours prior to their 8.45am appointment but were not given an exact time for their pick up.

“We were sitting downstairs and nobody came,” Diana said.

She called the hospital and changed the appointment to later that day.

“We got there just before 11am, so it was about 9.45am when they arrived.

“Would it not have been reasonable to let us know?”

On the return journey the couple experienced another problem.

“I altered the home coming time from 1pm to 2pm,” Diana said.

“We sat there, and sat there, and sat there. I got back to them and asked what had happened and I was told they had no record of us whatsoever. I was totally and utterly gobsmacked.”

The couple re-booked another transport but said it did not show either. At 5.30pm John went to check if it was waiting in the car park.

Diana said: “His knee gave way and he landed flat on his back.

“My husband is very traumatised. It is not fun at his age having a fall like that. It was a very traumatic day.”

John spent the evening in hospital and the pair got a taxi home the next day.

Diana said she was not holding the company responsible for her husband’s injuries but added; “if the car had been there on time this wouldn’t have happened.”

Coperforma runs patient transport services for the NHS across Sussex.

The firm took over from South East Coast Ambulance Service on April 1 and has received hundreds of complaints from patients.

Coperforma said it apologised for the delays experienced by the couple.

A spokesman said: “The circumstances surrounding this booking and the failure of the service are being fully investigated, as are all complaints and service exceptions.

“Once the investigation is complete, Coperforma will report back direct to the patient himself.”

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