Delays costly to patients

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

WIGAN’S health watchdog has hit out at patient transports services in the borough after a survey revealed that half of those living in Wigan borough said they were late for their appointment.

Healthwatch Wigan say a survey of 71 Wiganers who use transport services provided by Arriva Transport Solutions found that this late arrival led to missing appointments or having their medical care adversely affected.

The survey also found that a third of the people from Wigan borough reported waiting two hours or more to be taken home following an appointment.

However, the survey did reveal that the majority of patients were happy with the frontline staff. Arriva Transport Solutions has been providing non-emergency transport in the borough since April 2013 after winning the contract from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

Dave Nunns, chief executive Healthwatch Wigan, said: “Timing of journeys must be our biggest concern with the patient transport service.

“Two thirds of patients said they were more than 30 minutes late for their appointments and we heard of several instances where patients were so late that their important medical appointment didn’t go ahead or their treatment had to be cut short.

“Not only is this worrying in terms of the patients’ health outcomes but it can also lead to a waste of NHS resources as hospitals and clinics try to rearrange activity around patients who arrive late, through no fault of their own.”

Arriva say they are working to improve services and that they value the Healthwatch survey and that they have transported some 5,415 patients registered at Wigan GPs since April last year.

Dennis Hajdukiewicz, of Greater Manchester Arriva Transport Solutions, said: “We really value the role that Healthwatch plays in giving providers of NHS services an independent insight into the experience of patients and therefore we always welcome opportunities to work closely with them.

“Looking ahead, we will be working with our NHS commissioners to better help patients to understand how to access patient transport services and how they can raise concerns.

“Anybody with concerns should email:”