York & North Yorkshire

Heart surgery patient 'denied' hospital transport

A double heart by-pass patient from North Yorkshire has said she was denied hospital transport to get to an outpatient appointment.

Bessie Holland, 79, needed to travel from Pickering to Castle Hill Hospital near Hull to see her consultant.

She was told she was not "eligible" for hospital transport and had to pay £54 for a volunteer to take her.

NHS Hull said the service was there for those needing "physical or emotional" help.

'I have no transport'

Ms Holland said she had to make the 58-mile (93km) journey to visit her consultant following the surgery she underwent in August.

"At first they didn't think they'd [the volunteers] be able to get me, but they managed to take me. That's cost me £54.75.

"I've paid it, but I'm paying taxes and I've paid insurance all my life and I think it's outrageous that I should have to pay that.

"I have angina, and I walk with a stick so I mean how bad have you got to be [to qualify for transport]? I don't drive, I have no transport."

'Robust enforcement'

The Patient Transport Service is operated by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and commissioned jointly by NHS Hull and NHS East Riding of Yorkshire on behalf of local residents.

In a statement NHS Hull said: "Following a review, we found that some of the people using the service could quite easily have made their own way to appointments.

"In response, we have reaffirmed the eligibility criteria in a way which should ensure that only those who need physical or emotional help to travel are able to use the service."

NHS North Yorkshire and York said its criteria "had been more robustly enforced as a way of improving the quality and responsiveness of the local service".

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