Swindon OAP, 80, criticises ‘chaotic’ hospital journeys as patient transport fails to arrive at GWH

This Is Wiltshire: Pictured is Susan Wright, who was left waiting for hours in hospital reception after Arriva failed to pick her up Buy this photo Pictured is Susan Wright, who was left waiting for hours in hospital reception after Arriva failed to pick her up

PATIENTS have been left stranded in hospital after waiting hours for transport to return them home.

Susan Wright, 80, of Toothill, was among half a dozen people left waiting at Great Western Hospital last Friday, as Arriva Transport Solutions struggled to meet its targets.

Arriva took over running of non-emergency patient transport in the South West at the start of December and has said that its service is improving.

Taxis were arranged with a firm from Devizes to bring Susan home, but she was late for her appointment and was left waiting to be picked up for almost three hours.

“They should not take the job on if they do not know what they are doing,” said Susan, who is partially sighted and diabetic.

“It seems they do not know what volume of people are using the hospital transport so they just can’t cope with it.”

Susan has used non-emergency transport for eight years but says problems only began when Arriva took over.

“You have to ring up to order your transport, and they told me to be ready by 9 o’clock,” she said. “I was waiting, but they did not arrive until 10.30am, which meant I was late for my appointment by 15 minutes.

“I got down to the departure lounge at midday, and there were people waiting. I made enquiries and they said they did not know what was happening.

“It took an awfully long time to sort out. One manager took down all our details and how long we had been waiting but we never heard from her again.

“When it was the other transport I was never kept waiting.

“I have to go there three or four times a year and this was my first experience with Arriva.

“I won’t use them again. I would rather pay for a taxi than wait for hours.

“Finally someone came round and called my name and they had sent taxis from Devizes to take us home.

“The driver said he had been in Swindon anyway and he got a call to come to the hospital. He said he had been walking all over the hospital trying to find two other people to collect.

“It is absolute chaos now. When it used to be the volunteers it was perfect. I have been using them for the last eight years since my husband died.

“I can’t walk very far without getting out of breath, and the hospital suggested transport.

“I did not ask for it but now I have to fight for it. When it was the volunteers they used to get out of the car and see me right to the door, but these people just sit in the road and wait for you. My son had to help me down to the car in the morning.”

A spokesman for Arriva Transport Solutions said that on the day six patients were not picked up in the hour’s target.

He said: “Any delay is unacceptable. We have to outsource 10 per cent of our journeys, and that is in our contract, so sometimes that will include taxi companies.

“We would like to apologise for inconvenience caused, and while we have experienced problems, our service is improving.”

Ed Potter, Head of South West, Arriva Transport Solutions, said the firm had increased the number of ambulances by a quarter and service had improved to four fifths of all patients being collected within an hour.

He said: “We are sorry to hear that there are still some patients experiencing delays with their transport home from hospital.

“The first few weeks following the start of the contract saw a significant number of delays.

“Through analysis coupled with patient and stakeholder feedback we were able to identify the causes of the majority of delays and we have taken action to address each of these.

“We have experienced higher volumes of patient journeys than expected and we have increased the number of ambulances serving Swindon by 25 per cent.

“We have also placed managers at the hospital on a daily basis to assist with the transition period.

“One cause of the delays was the new process of booking patients ‘ready to travel’ and to address this we have provided additional training. This has had a positive impact for both staff and patients.

Patients wishing to provide feedback can email patientcustomerservice@arriva.co.uk.

Comments (13)

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8:51am Wed 15 Jan 14

Wallywombat says...

One one day ... really. This happened to a relative both Monday and Tuesday of this week. 3 hours wait both times.
One one day ... really. This happened to a relative both Monday and Tuesday of this week. 3 hours wait both times. Wallywombat
  • Score: 3

10:16am Wed 15 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now? ChannelX
  • Score: 1

1:18pm Wed 15 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
So what is the answer then?
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]So what is the answer then? house on the hill
  • Score: 2

2:12pm Wed 15 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

house on the hill wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
So what is the answer then?
Either go private, pay for your own taxi or make your own transport arrangements with friends and family.

Or, what do you suggest, keep using the NHS and keep moaning when it's not very good?
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]So what is the answer then?[/p][/quote]Either go private, pay for your own taxi or make your own transport arrangements with friends and family. Or, what do you suggest, keep using the NHS and keep moaning when it's not very good? ChannelX
  • Score: 3

3:34pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Jane_Doe says...

It's not a taxi service.
It's not a taxi service. Jane_Doe
  • Score: 7

3:34pm Wed 15 Jan 14

knittynora says...

ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers. knittynora
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Wallywombat says...

The issue people are having is due to the new transport arrangements that have been made, which are obviously not working. Why should people have to wait for 3 hours to be taken home after an appointment, or even miss appointments or are late for appointments because the transport they have booked is late or does not turn up. Transport is provided for people who need it. Not everyone is entitled to it.
The issue people are having is due to the new transport arrangements that have been made, which are obviously not working. Why should people have to wait for 3 hours to be taken home after an appointment, or even miss appointments or are late for appointments because the transport they have booked is late or does not turn up. Transport is provided for people who need it. Not everyone is entitled to it. Wallywombat
  • Score: 4

3:39pm Wed 15 Jan 14

ging999 says...

ChannelX wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
So what is the answer then?
Either go private, pay for your own taxi or make your own transport arrangements with friends and family.

Or, what do you suggest, keep using the NHS and keep moaning when it's not very good?
Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]So what is the answer then?[/p][/quote]Either go private, pay for your own taxi or make your own transport arrangements with friends and family. Or, what do you suggest, keep using the NHS and keep moaning when it's not very good?[/p][/quote]Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?. ging999
  • Score: 4

3:51pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Davey Gravey says...

Something else outsourced to the lowest bidder?
Note how the service declines when they wash their hands of it and let it go private. The cleaning anyone?
Something else outsourced to the lowest bidder? Note how the service declines when they wash their hands of it and let it go private. The cleaning anyone? Davey Gravey
  • Score: 4

5:08pm Wed 15 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.
So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever.

Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?
[quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.[/p][/quote]So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever. Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS? ChannelX
  • Score: -2

6:32pm Wed 15 Jan 14

knittynora says...

ChannelX wrote:
knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.
So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever.

Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?
Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ?

to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?."
I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.[/p][/quote]So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever. Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?[/p][/quote]Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ? to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?." I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack. knittynora
  • Score: 3

7:55am Thu 16 Jan 14

ChannelX says...

knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.
So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever.

Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?
Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ?

to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?."
I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack.
If I outsource any element of my business, it's still my responsibility if things go wrong or are not performed correctly.

Whether you like it or not, the service in question is ultimately managed, run and paid for by the NHS.

Or, rather, you and I (assuming you pay any tax).
[quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.[/p][/quote]So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever. Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?[/p][/quote]Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ? to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?." I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack.[/p][/quote]If I outsource any element of my business, it's still my responsibility if things go wrong or are not performed correctly. Whether you like it or not, the service in question is ultimately managed, run and paid for by the NHS. Or, rather, you and I (assuming you pay any tax). ChannelX
  • Score: -4

8:00am Thu 16 Jan 14

ging999 says...

knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
knittynora wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?
Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.
So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever.

Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?
Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ?

to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?."
I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack.
I might be all of those.
[quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Use the NHS, receive an average to poor service. Aren't people well aware of this by now?[/p][/quote]Actually, the transport is now provided ( or not in some cases)under contract by a private company Arriva Transport Solutions. This is quite clear in the article which gives quotes from the relevant private sector managers.[/p][/quote]So, the transport IS ultimately provided and paid for by the NHS then? Or, rather, the taxpayer... as ever. Or are you suggesting that the NHS are not able to contract anyone other than Arriva to carry out the work on the behalf of the NHS?[/p][/quote]Under the rules binding contracting out public services the cheapest bid has to be awarded the contract. This is why service usually suffers when private contractors are involved. To get the contract they cut costs to the bone only to find out once they are operating the service that they have underestimated costs so have to cut the service. Remember G4S and the Olympic fiasco ? to Ging999s` question :"Could the answer be that people pay for a taxi or travel on the regular bus service?." I hope that if you are ever 80 years old, diabetic, partially sighted and have problems walking ,that there is someone around who possesses the human feelings you obviously lack.[/p][/quote]I might be all of those. ging999
  • Score: -1

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