1. ITV Report

Partially-blind woman told she's 'too healthy' to use hospital transport

Pamela Midgely, 61, takes multiple medications for her a number of illnesses Credit: BPM Media

A partially-blind woman has been denied patient transport to her hospital appointments after being told she is ‘too healthy’.

Pamela Midgely, from Birmingham, has an degenerative eye disease, arthritis, asthma, clinical depression and oesophagitis (inflammation of the gullet) that can cause ulcers.

But after a change in guidelines for non-emergency patient transport, Ms Midgely was told she is no longer eligible and will have to find her own way to attend her hospital appointments.

The 61-year-old said:

I’ve been using the service for the past two years, and now suddenly I’m not ill enough. I’m partially sighted with an incurable eye disease. I have poor sight and no peripheral vision.

I recently broke both my feet after mis-stepping off a kerb.

I used to get a non-emergency ambulance to the hospital appointments but now, suddenly, everything’s changed.

Apparently I’m too healthy, even though my eyes are getting worse. Maybe I should cut my leg off so they take me seriously?

– Pamela Midgely
Pamela Midgely, 61, has no family in the area to help and the ambulance transport has been her lifeline Credit: BPM Media

Ms Midgely has regular appointments at Heartlands, Solihull Hospital and the Birmingham Dental Hospital, near Selly Oak.

She said she will need to get two buses to her next appointment.

I phoned up to book transport after getting a letter through the post for my appointment.

But when I called, I was told that I no longer qualified for an ambulance and would have to get there myself.

When I first found out I was furious, but then I just burst into tears.

– Pamela Midgely

Paul Jennings, interim chief executive for NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group said the eligibility criteria for non-emergency transport have changed following recent consultation.

He said Ms Midgely has the right to appeal the decision.

We are very sorry to hear of any concern caused to Ms Midgley and we would be keen to talk to her directly about this.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups undertook a consultation in 2015, to listen to local people’s view about non-emergency patient transport.

In response to the consultation, a new eligibility policy and patient charter was introduced.

Eligibility for transport is based on a patient’s medical need and risks to their health. It also helps to identify their mobility class, determine the type of vehicle that is required, and level of support required from transport staff.

There is an appeals process in place if a patient does not agree with the assessment of their eligibility.

– Paul Jennings, Interim Chief Executive at NHS Birmingham & Solihull CCG