A woman has spoken of her fury after her wheelchair-bound father was left in a hospital waiting room for over five hours following a mix-up with patient transport.
Edward Stevenson, 87, has been an inpatient at Rye and Winchelsea Memorial Hospital since December 23 after injuring his back at his home in Ore.
On Monday (January 9) he was taken via patient transport to the Conquest Hospital at 11.30am to get new hearing aids. He was due to be returned at 12.45pm.
But when daughter Jayne arrived at Rye at 4.30pm, her father was nowhere to be seen.
Jayne, of Hailsham Road, Polegate, said: “The nurse at the hospital could not contact anybody so I drove from Rye to the Conquest.
“I knocked on one of the transport ambulances outside the entrance and asked if they were waiting to take anyone back to Rye and they said ‘no, we’ve finished’.”
A panicked Jayne dashed into the hospital to find the outpatients department shut.
She eventually found her father in the discharge lounge at 6pm. Jayne said: “He had been taken from a hospital bed in Rye to the Conquest for a 15 minute fitting and basically left there in a wheelchair with no money, no phone and he cannot walk.
“No one took responsibility for him, not Rye Hospital, who didn’t think it odd he wasn’t back by tea time, or audiology who fitted his hearing aids then pushed him back in the waiting room.
“When they closed at 5.30pm they got him taken to the discharge lounge where I found him.”
The patient transport drivers told Jayne they had received no calls from the discharge lounge since 2pm.
But hospital staff said the drivers were not answering.
A spokesperson for the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “We can confirm that hospital transport was booked to take Mr Stevenson to his appointment and collect him for the return journey.
“Unfortunately there was delay in the return journey which did result in him waiting for a longer period than would be normal.
“We are sorry Mr Stevenson had to wait so long.
“The nursing staff did take action to try and resolve the matter with the hospital transport company and offered him refreshment during this period. As the outpatient department closes at 5.30pm the decision was made to transfer Mr Stevenson to our discharge lounge where assistance and full facilities are available.
“The trust then took the decision to allocate the return journey to a private vehicle to avoid any further delay.”
A spokesperson for Coperforma said an ambulance attended the hospital at 16.21 to pick Mr Stevenson up, but the crew could not find him.
Another ambulance was allocated at 16.40 and the crew was told he was in audiology.
A third ambulance was allocated and at 18.01 the crew was told he had left via a trust vehicle.
He added: “We made every reasonable effort to collect this patient in a timely manner and we are very disappointed that on this occasion our best efforts did not work out as intended; it is clear that there was some degree of confusion within the hospital, which was largely out of our control.
“On behalf of the Coperforma team, we apologise to the patient and his family and we are pleased to learn his condition has not been unaffected by this unfortunate experience.”
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