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New hospital transport service “putting patients' lives at risk”
LIVES are being put at risk after the changeover of Dorset’s non-emergency patient transport contract, patients have claimed.
Just over a week after E-zec Medical Transport Services Ltd took on the running of the service, many who rely on the company for travel to hospitals in the county say they have been left waiting for hours.
South Western Ambulance Service lost the lucrative contract to the company in June this year.
Nick Rennells, who lives in Christchurch, is taken to Poole Hospital five times a week for radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.
He said: “In the week since they’ve [E-zec] taken over, I’ve been either forgotten about completely or made significantly late every single time.
“I have had to rely on the kindness of neighbours and take taxis to receive this life-saving treatment. It’s been absolutely shambolic and incredibly worrying.”
Mr Rennells, 60, has lung cancer, and said the stress of waiting for the service to arrive each day is making him ill.
“If I had a broken leg and they forgot to pick me up, that’s one thing, but I need to get to the hospital or my life could be at risk.”
Edwin Winslade, 72, of Winton, was left at Poole Hospital for more than three hours following a course of radiotherapy.
He said: “I had five days of treatment a week, and on two of those, no one has arrived to pick me up at all.
“The company tells you to be ready a full two hours before they’re meant to come and get you, so you’re just sat waiting for hours.”
Martin Smits, director of nursing and patient services at Poole Hospital, said: “We will be closely monitoring the new service and would encourage patients to feed back any comments directly to Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group or to us via our PALS office on 01202 448499.”
Margaret Allen, interim deputy director at Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Getting feedback on our services is important and whilst we recognise the concerns raised in these particular cases, we would encourage anyone who is dissatisfied with local healthcare to contact us directly.”
A HOSPITAL whistleblower has claimed two heart operations have been cancelled as a result of Dorset’s new non-emergency patient transport contract.
The man, who works for Royal Bournemouth Hospital but wants to remain anonymous, also said patients frustrated with the service have discharged themselves from hospital.
He said: “I know of two cancelled operations as a result of transportation not turning up.
“The operations have been rescheduled, but it is deeply worrying that this has happened at all.”
He said many have “major concerns” have been raised.
“Not only are patients having problems getting through to E-zec, but hospital staff are too.
"The phone just rings and rings and no one ever answers. There are many of us who are extremely concerned about what is happening.”
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