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Headcorn: G4S ambulance fails to take Warren Hartley to hospital in Folkestone

A private ambulance firm has apologised to the family of a vulnerable elderly man, after failing to ferry him to hospital for an operation.

Bedbound Warren Hartley, 89, who has a collapsed spine, was due to attend Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone for a bladder scan and catheter change.

But the G4S ambulance service he was expecting did not show.

Bedbound Warren Hartley, 89,
Bedbound Warren Hartley, 89,

It comes as the security firm, which supplies ambulance services for Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), received a damning medical report flagging up “significant concerns” over failings.

Warren’s son, Jeff Hartley, 62, a retired teacher of Stone Street, Stanford, said: “My father is vulnerable, he’s bedbound and profoundly deaf.

“The ambulance not taking him to his appointment has caused us a lot of stress, not to mention the money and time it has taken to arrange another appointment.

“They called me the day before to make sure I was available to help dad get ready – he lives in Headcorn – but the ambulance never arrived.

"He has paid his taxes and National Insurance all of his life for this eventuality.

“I was so angry. Dad was extremely frustrated.”

Jeff Hartley is annoyed a private ambulance company has yet to reply to a letter he sent about his father’s treatment
Jeff Hartley is annoyed a private ambulance company has yet to reply to a letter he sent about his father’s treatment

Mr Hartley claims during a succession of phone calls G4S would not pass him to a supervisor, instead giving him an address to make a written complaint.

The complaint letter was sent on May 31, the day of the incident, but still hasn’t prompted a response.

Mr Hartley added: “What if something was profoundly wrong with dad? It would have been missed by the hospital.

“We have to arrange another appointment through G4S now, but I have very little confidence.”

Pressure is mounting on the multimillion-pound company to improve services or face losing contracts, according to a report published by South Kent Coast CCG this month.

It says: “Significant concerns around performance and quality have been raised.

"My father is vulnerable, he's bedbound and profoundly deaf" - Jeff Hartley

“Hospitals and other providers arranging transport separately to avoid patients being stranded, or to ensure they attend appointments.

“Patients (are) not being told about journey cancellations.

“Clinical staff (are) working additional hours at the end of their shift to look after patients whose transport has been delayed.”

Managing director for G4S transport services, Russell Hobbs, was quick to apologise for the “poor experience”.

He told the Express: “On May 31, Mr Hartley had a poor experience of our service and we would like to convey our unreserved apologies to him and his family.

“While the vast majority of the 1,200 patient journeys we deliver are completed on time and without incident, when things do go wrong we will always try to act swiftly to put them right.

“We always encourage feedback from patients and continue to work hard with NHS service commissioners to look at new and more innovative ways to deliver the service more effectively.”

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