Patient’s anger over transport service

JPMT 120413  Graeme Jenkins - was let down on two occasions by NHS transport Priory service. photo by Derek Martin
JPMT 120413 Graeme Jenkins - was let down on two occasions by NHS transport Priory service. photo by Derek Martin

A wheelchair-bound man who uses an NHS patient transport service says he was left annoyed after it failed to pick him up on two occasions.

Graeme Jenkins, 59, who lives in Priory Way, Haywards Heath, relies on the service to take him to Brighton for physiotherapy treatment.

Mr Jenkins was admitted to Brighton Hospital in October last year after his leg became infected. Treatment failed due to his diabetes and in December his right leg was amputated below the knee.

He said: “My home situation to date remains that I am technically wheelchair-bound and confined to the ground floor of the house.

“The only occasions I have been able to leave the house safely involves being strapped into a transport trolley and carried bodily by three or four ambulance personnel through the porch and down nine steps to the pavement.”

On two occasions in March the ambulance service failed to pick up Mr Jenkins meaning he missed his physio sessions.

“I need the physio as the plan is I will get a prosthetic leg and then work with a Zimmer frame, progress onto a stick and then be able to walk independently,” he said.

“The first time they didn’t show up I thought it was just an oversight, so I was more annoyed that they hadn’t contacted me to tell me that they weren’t coming,” he said. “The second time I was just so angry. I just couldn’t believe that it had happened again. Going to physio can be the only time I get some fresh air so to have the ambulance not turn up twice in one week was unbelievable.”

A spokesperson for the NHS in West Sussex said: “We are very sorry to hear about Mr Jenkins’ experience of patient transport in the county. We have been contacted directly by Mr Jenkins and are currently looking into his concerns, which we would like to assure him we take very seriously.

“We will be contacting Mr Jenkins directly with our findings as soon as possible to discuss this further with him. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Mr Jenkins said that he didn’t want an apology he just wanted something to be done so that it didn’t happen to someone else. I can’t undo what happened to me but I just don’t want it happening to other people,” he added.

The booking service was run by NHS Sussex which has now been replaced by NHS England and clinical commissioning groups. The service is run by South East Coast Ambulance (Secamb) NHS Foundation Trust.

At the time of going to press Secamb was still investigating Mr Jenkins’ complaint and the inquiry is still on-going.