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More problems for Arriva as Gloucestershire cancer patient claims a catalogue of delays

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 20, 2013

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CANCER sufferer Stephen Roberts claims a catalogue of errors by hospital patient transport provider Arriva have caused him misery.

Stephen, 58, needs daily transport from Tewkesbury for treatment at county hospitals for a mouth tumour. As he can’t speak properly, his complaint is being handled by his worried sister, Kim Angel, who lives in Abbeymead, with her husband Richard.

Arriva Transport Solutions took over Gloucestershire’s non-emergency transport service from South West Ambulance Service on December 1.

Since then, Stephen claims he has been kept waiting for hours, missed appointments and said he was involved in an accident when his private ambulance crashed. Arriva is now investigating the incident.

Other errors, he claims, have seen him return home so late he was unable to collect medication and that he also missed out on treatment altogether as he was not picked up.

Brother-in-law Richard said: “So far Stephen has not received a single vehicle on time from Arriva. He can’t eat, so needs a tube fitted into his stomach and he has missed appointments for that, and to have a mask fitted for his radiotherapy.

“He was in a lot of pain and suffering and was left waiting for hours to go home. On one day his original appointment was at 9am and didn’t get home until 11pm. Stephen is very ill, he is really down. It is very stressful as he can’t speak properly.”

A private taxi from Gloucester has now been arranged by Arriva to make sure Stephen gets to all future appointments.

Ed Potter, head of the South West at Arriva Transport Solutions, said: “Ensuring we deliver a safe and reliable service to our patients is our highest priority and as such we are very concerned and sorry about the transport delays experienced.

“We have spoken to the patient to apologise for any distress this has caused. The first few weeks of this new contract has seen significant changes for both our staff and for the NHS community in the way transport is booked and operated. We would like to reassure all our patients that despite some initial delays, we are working closely with commissioners, hospital staff and patient representatives to ensure that this service beds down quickly and ultimately delivers a better service to patients moving forward than has been provided previously.

“We do not consider any delays to patient journeys to be acceptable. This week, we put in place a specific plan of action for the patient and the last three days have seen his journeys run smoothly without delay.”

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