Leicester health officials in apology over 93-year-old's 4-hour wait for Arriva service
Health officials have apologised to a 93-year-old woman who had to wait nearly four hours for transport home following a hospital appointment.
Agnes Greensmith relies on the patient transport service run by private company Arriva.
The company has been dogged by complaints from patients about late pick-ups since it took over the service from East Midlands Ambulance Service on July 1.
Mrs Greensmith was picked up from her home in Rowlatts Hill, Leicester, on time for her 10.30am appointment at the hearing services clinic at Leicester Royal Infirmary, on Thursday last week.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
But, once the appointment had finished, it was more than three-and-a-half hours before an ambulance was available to take her back.
Mrs Greensmith said: "I had to wait about 20 minutes for the appointment, which lasted for about 10 minutes, and was out by 11am.
"But I then had to wait. I only had a couple of biscuits before the appointment and nothing more to eat until I got home."
Mrs Greensmith suffers from a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes and angina.
She said: "I hadn't had much to eat before I went to the hospital because I have to be careful with my medication and I didn't expect to be picked up so late to get home."
Mrs Greensmith, who has trouble walking, said there were others who had to wait.
"I wasn't the only one," she said. "There were three other people who had been waiting for hours and were still there when I left.
"I can only think that the people running the service didn't think my lift was urgent because it was an appointment to have hearing aids fitted, but I had explained when I booked my worry about waiting to get home."
Alison Hassell, an associate director with the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: "We apologise to Mrs Greensmith over her very long wait. This is not acceptable and we are still working with Arriva to prevent this kind of thing happening."
Arriva is responsible for ferrying patients who have no other means of transport, to and from appointments.
Patients have complained about being left for hours waiting for lifts home and others picked up late for appointments.
Ms Hassell said: "Overall, the situation has been improving over the first three months of the contract, although there remain some issues that need resolving more effectively.
"The target of Arriva achieving 90 per cent of journeys on time is frequently achieved.
Arriva spokesman Brian Drury said they received about 30 complaints a week out of 8,500 journeys, which indicated "that by far the majority of customers are receiving the services they want, when they want it".
Passengers with a complaint should contact Arriva by calling 0845 266 9662 and selecting option 5, or e-mailing: