‘We deserve better than a five hour wait for an ambulance’

Health services
Health services

A private ambulance service could face action after leaving a woman recovering from a stroke waiting for FIVE HOURS for transport home.

Margaret Hencke, 69, the wife of investigative journalist David, suffered a sudden stroke while the couple from High Street, Berkhamsted, were sitting at a cafe on holiday in May on the Isles of Scilly.

Mrs Hencke is recovering at Gossoms End rehab unit in Berkhamsted but can’t stand up or walk unaided and can only travel in ambulances.

Mr Hencke, 66, said: “She had to get an X-ray after toppling over to make sure she had not broken her wrist.”

Following treatment the couple were told they had to wait two hours for transport home.

“Two hours became three and then four,” said Mr Hencke.

Later he said he discovered the private company that runs the service, Medical Services Ltd, had just ONE patient transport ambulance on duty on Saturday evening covering the whole of Herts and Beds. Writing on his blog, Mr Hencke said: “The public deserve better.”

He added that it would not have been possible for him to take his wife away in a taxi without risking further serious injury.

A spokesman for Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group ) said: “Breaches in performance will be discussed and appropriate measures taken when necessary.”

The contract has three so-called performance indicators, one of which states “The contractor will collect patients from clinics within 60 minutes of being requested in 90 per of cases and within 120 minutes on 100 per cent of cases.”

The CCG spokesman explained that in west Herts patient transport services are commissioned by the CCG and the contract is managed by the hospital trust.

The spokesman added: “Both NHS organisations are satisfied that Medical Services have apologised to Mr and Mrs Hencke and are investigating.”

Joe Sheehan, managing director of London-based Medical Services Ltd, said: “We did keep Mrs Hencke waiting for far too long for transport home last Saturday afternoon. We are sorry for that delay.

“We are reviewing our internal procedures to avoid such a lengthy delay in the future.”