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NHS patient, 104, left waiting 12 hours for a lift from hospital after medics refused to call him a taxi over health and safety fears
13:37 GMT, 26 November 2012
104-year-old Jack Jones was left waiting for over 12 hours for an ambulance home after a short visit to A&E
NHS chiefs have apologised to a 104-year-old patient after they left him waiting for 12 hours for a lift home because they refused to let him call a taxi – over health and safety fears.
Jack Jones was in tears after medical staff said he would have to wait for an ambulance to give him a lift home after he was discharged from hospital following a fall.
He was left waiting on a chair in A&E for more than 12 hours until he was finally driven six miles to the sheltered housing complex in Stourbridge, West Midlands, where he lives.
Mr Jones, who built Spitfire fighter planes at Longbridge in Birmingham, during World War Two, was admitted to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, at 8am on October 26.
He was examined and after he was given the all clear he was told he could go but he did not arrive home until 10pm that night.
But he was told by medical staff that it was against the hospital’s policy to let elderly patients go home on their own and promised to take him back in an ambulance.
But Mr Jones was not driven home in an ambulance until 9pm that night despite his family begging hospital staff to let him call his regular taxi driver.
Mr Jones, whose wife Winifred died in 1990 aged 81, said: 'I was very upset that I was left waiting for so long for a lift home. I told the hospital staff that I use a taxi driver who knows me and would help me to my front door but they refused.
'It was a very long day considering how close it was to my home, even though I walk with a zimmer frame I could have walked home quicker.'
Mr Jones’ nephew Bob Goode, 83, who lives in Herefordshire, yesterday blasted the hospital – branding it 'health and safety gone mad'.
He said: 'Jack was admitted to A&E at 8am and only needed a short check up, but he didn’t get back home until 10pm – that’s simply outrageous considering his age. The staff got him tea and coffee throughout the day and gave him lunch, but he’s 104 and was left in a waiting room chair.
'He’s a sprightly chap, still lives at home and copes well, but he became quite despondent while waiting for the ambulance. At one point he decided to take action. He knows a local taxi firm who take him right inside and make sure he is alright.
'So he told staff he would call them,
but they said no. They said it was against health and safety policies
because they could not risk him falling in or out of the taxi. They told him he would have an ambulance to himself to go direct to his house.
staff said they needed to make sure they could help him, carry him if
necessary, to his door and put the lights on and make him a cup of tea
and make sure he was okay.
Staff at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley told Mr Jones they were not allowed to let him take a taxi home
Mr Jones only went to the hospital for a short check-up. His nephew slammed the 12-hour delay as 'health and safety gone mad'
'He tried to explain that he knew a taxi driver who would do all this for him but they were adamant and just left him there. When he was finally taken to the ambulance he had to wait for an hour until they had loaded five other people on with him.
'As you can imagine he was shattered when he got home, leaving a 104-year-old from 8am to 10pm is not on. Normally he would have a sleep during the day, but the idiots left him sat there.'
Worried patients also saw Jack getting increasingly distressed throughout his 12 hour ordeal.
In a letter to the hospital a woman described finding Jack crying while 'sitting in a chair, bent over – with a stale cup of tea on a tray which he would not reach'.
Yesterday the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delay and promised to prioritise elderly patients in the future.
Chief executive Paula Clark said: 'We are extremely sorry Mr Jones experienced such a significant wait for his transport home and apologise for this. Current demand and capacity issues have resulted in some unacceptable delays.'
'Following meetings between all parties changes have been instigated including temporary investment in an additional crew.'