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Woman goes home from James Paget Hospital in wheelchair after six hour ambulance wait

15:45 18 April 2012

General view of the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, Norfolk

October 2011

Picture: James Bass

General view of the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, Norfolk October 2011 Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis went home from hospital in her wheelchair in the dark after a six hour wait for an ambulance.

Because of her size Pauline Coulson required bariatric transport to get home from the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston following a five day stay.

The 60-year-old has been bed-ridden for two years due to her condition and her husband Lindsay said his wife was left waiting for six hours for suitable transport to arrive.

Mrs Coulson was told she could go home at 2.30pm on Monday and the hospital asked independent ambulance service provider Norvic to collect her.

But the vehicle was called to deal with an emergency which took precedence.

The hospital said alternative transport was offered but this would have meant a lengthy delay and Mrs Coulson’s family decided to take her home themselves.

Mr Coulson, 66, said he arrived at the hospital with his wife’s wheelchair at about 8.30pm and walked the 10 minute journey home with her.

“I am frustrated with the situation and really disgusted they have not got a (bariatric) ambulance at the James Paget Hospital,” he said.

“Given the area that it covers, I said to the paramedics what happens if there is a bad pile up on the Acle Straight and someone large is involved.”

Mrs Coulson said she felt angry at the situation. “I feel so angry about it I really do. I feel sorry for anybody else that has to go through this.”

A James Paget spokesman said: “The hospital booked transportation with a specialist independent ambulance service to take the patient home as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, due to an emergency, that ambulance was used for another patient. The alternative transportation offered would have meant a lengthy delay and the family decided that they would take the patient home themselves.”

A Norvic spokesman said it has eight ambulances in the Eastern region capable of transporting bariatric patients.

A bariatric patient is someone 25 stone or heavier but people weighing less can require the service.

The spokesman said all its new ‘intermediate’ vehicles will be equipped to take larger patients.

“We are one of the leading providers of bariatric services in the UK; however, due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to provide the service requested by the hospital as planned,” the spokesman said.

“An emergency situation arose which took precedence and although another ambulance was offered, the family made their own arrangements.”

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