Third case highlights shortcomings of patient transport

Forty-five minutes after he was due to be picked up by a patient transport vehicle, a 91-year-old man from north Skye was phoned and told that no transport was available.

A routine examination by an optician on 17th March revealed that former schoolteacher John Harman, who lives in Colbost near Dunvegan, had blood in his right eye. An appointment was then arranged for him to visit the eye clinic at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness on 31st March. A patient transport vehicle was also booked for that day.

“The patient transport service said they would be here at 8am but they phoned me at 8.45am on the day to say they couldn’t come,” Mr Harman said. “So I cancelled the appointment at Raigmore and they gave me another for 28th April at 10am. I said this was far too early so they changed it to 10.40am. I asked them did they have anything available in May that was at a later time, and they are still looking into it —that’s the position at the moment.

“Because of my age I can’t drive long distances, and I couldn’t in any case because I’d be attending the eye clinic.”

Mr Harman, who has lived in Colbost for almost 30 years, said his GP was “very concerned”  that the issue of blood in his patient’s eye had still not been investigated.

Several complaints about the way in which the patient transport booking system operates have surfaced over the last few weeks. The Scottish Ambulance Service have blamed “short-term sickness absences” and have promised an “alignment of resources” to tackle the problem.