Stories of Painful Journeys
Peter, Subash and Maureen explain just how painful their journeys are in their own words below.
'Amazingly, I don't qualify for hospital transport' - Peter, 79
‘I have a disease which make me pass out in cold weather and affects my mobility. I also have active epilepsy, so I’m unable to drive. I have to travel to hospital for weekly blood tests.
‘I find it painful walking and I can’t go far - I get too knackered.
‘To get to hospital, I take three buses but over this last year, it has been too stressful to use the buses. My condition gives me awful balance, so I’m always falling over. With my arthritis I can only walk very small distances, so its painful walking between buses.
‘Amazingly, I don’t qualify for hospital transport. Apparently, I am too sufficiently able-bodied. I would dread to think how bad I would have to be to qualify.
‘My wife can’t drive me and my daughters live too far away. I’m forced to take taxis, which costs me a lot. I rely on my savings and I’ve spent £720 on taxis to hospitals in the last 18 months alone - that hurts.’
'It's a nightmare to change bus three times' - Subash, 69
Subash, 69, has Parkinson’s and diabetes. He has to go for regular hospital appointments to meet with his neurologist. When he tried to apply to hospital transport, he was told he did not live within the hospital’s catchment area.
Subash is forced to take public transport to the hospital. Because of his Parkinson’s and difficulty with his eyes, it is not safe for him to travel alone.
Subash explains: ‘I have to rely on my wife to get to hospital. We have to take three buses to get to my hospital appointments. It’s a nightmare to change bus three times - it is very painful for me to walk, not just in my legs but also in my back. With the pain in my back and legs, I dread the journey to hospital.
‘It takes me two and half hours to get hospital via the three buses. So if I have an appointment at 10am in the morning, I have to leave the house at 7am.’
'I've been left waiting alone for five hours' - Maureen, 74
'I have a severe disability, so I can't use my legs and my arms are weak. I go to hospital five times a month for treatment. As a wheelchair user, I qualify for hospital transport. Hospital transport is a vital service, I could not receive my treatment without it. But it's unreliability just leaves you in a complete state of anxiety.
'I have to be ready two hours before my appointment, but often the pick up time changes without warning.
'If the driver arrives early, and wants to leave immediately, I can't. Because of my disability, in order to use to bathroom easily, I only get dressed just before I leave the house.
'The journey to hospital takes up to two and a half hours. I'm often out of the house for 12 hours, it takes over my whole life.
'When my appointment has been delayed in the past, the hospital transport leaves without me. I've been left waiting alone for five hours.
'The worst time was when they sent a taxi with stairs that I couldn't use. I waited for hours alone, which I can't do, as I need help to use the bathroom. Two men had to lift me off the toilet, it was dreadful. My partner had to come and get me, which was dangerous as his car isn't designed for a wheelchair. He found the whole thing terrifying.'