AN AMBULANCE crew could not find Worcestershire Royal Hospital on their sat-nav and had to ask their patient’s daughter for help.

The crew from the Dudley area had to ask for assistance to find the Worcester hospital from the daughter of their elderly patient who had collapsed at her home.

Even when the crew from the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust punched in the name of the hospital into their sat-nav they still drew a blank, the sick patient’s daughter said.

It was only because she knew the address of the 39-acre site in Charles Hastings Way that staff were able to find it on their sat-nav as they rushed her 93-year-old mum to the hospital from her Kidderminster home.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust said the nearest available ambulance was deployed, that the family of the patient chose Worcestershire Royal Hospital (WRH) over a closer Dudley hospital and that all ambulances now have the WRH as a preset destination.

The incident followed a 999 call to Stanklyn Lane between 10am and 11am on Saturday, February 14.

The trust was criticised by Ann Montague-Smith, chairman of the Worcestershire Local Involvement Network (LINk), a new patient forum, at a meeting of Worcestershire Primary Care Trust.

“My friend’s mum is now doing well, but it could have been serious,” she said.

Your Worcester News knows the identity of the family involved and although they agreed to be interviewed, they have declined to be named.

The daughter of the woman who collapsed said: “The ambulance crew said to me ‘do you want to go to Worcester?’ I said ‘yes to Worcestershire Royal Hospital’. They said they didn’t know where it was. It was established they had come from Russells Hall (Dudley). The paramedic then asked me ‘do you know where Worcestershire Royal is and would I mind sitting in the front with the driver?’ I said ‘that’s fine’. He said ‘do you know what road Worcestershire Royal Hospital is on?’ I said ‘I know it’s on Charles Hastings Way’. Then they said ‘it has come up on the sat-nav now’. At that point I just wanted to get to the hospital. I didn’t think it was the fault of the crew but a training issue.”

Once the ambulance got to the hospital, the crew did not have a swipe card to get into A&E and had to ring on the buzzer to get in.

She said: “This probably delayed us by 10 minutes. My mother is okay now but she was poorly for the whole of the following week. She couldn’t even stand up. I just can’t believe they didn’t know where the Worcestershire Royal Hospital was. I think crews have lost local knowledge. Fortunately, my mother did not suffer a heart attack or a stroke.”

Your Worcester News campaigned to save Bransford, the Emergency Operations Centre which handled 999 calls because of fears that local knowledge would be lost if it closed but ambulance bosses still opted to close it in December.

WHAT THE AMBULANCE TRUST HAD TO SAY: A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The Trust can confirm that a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle arrived at the address of the patient within six minutes of the emergency call. After assessing the patient, the paramedic requested an ambulance to transfer the patient to hospital.

“The Trust always sends the nearest available vehicle to incidents but at that time all vehicles in Worcestershire were already on emergency calls. An ambulance from outside the county was immediately tasked as the nearest available. It arrived 13 minutes after being assigned to the call, with the paramedic continuing treatment of the patient.

“Even though Russells Hall Hospital is the nearest, the patient is believed to have requested to be taken to WRH. The ambulance arrived at that hospital 27 minutes after departing the patient’s address, a journey of around 15 miles at normal speed.

“The trust has noted that the ambulance in question did not have WRH as a preset destination, but has since ensured that all vehicles now have all hospitals set up in that manner. “Although all vehicles from Worcestershire have an access swipe card to the Accident and Emergency department doors at WRH this vehicle did not as it was out of its normal area of work. However, the crew accessed the A&E using a door buzzer which alerts a member of staff of their presence. Because of the access system at WRH swipe cards have been issued to selected ambulances from outside Worcestershire.

“LINKs Chairwoman Ann Montague-Smith praised the trust for resolving this matter within hours of it being brought to its attention.”