Pensioner’s £30 bill for mercy taxi

Mrs Braidwood and her daughter Elaine
Mrs Braidwood and her daughter Elaine

A GLENROTHES woman ended up having to pay £30 for a return taxi journey after the she was told an ambulance was no longer available to take her daughter to a vital hospital appointment.

Irene Braidwood is the main carer to daughter Elaine who suffers from MS and epileptic auras, which cause painful spasms in her legs.

Elaine (56), had been on the waiting list for vital botox injections which would help to curb the spasms since December 2012, and was given an appointment for Friday, January 25.

Irene (82) enquired about transport from Elaine’s home in Cadham to Cameron Hospital and back, but was told she would have to speak to her GP.

“When I phoned our GP, they told me they didn’t do that anymore and that I would need to contact the ambulance service,” explained Irene.

“I spoke to a nice woman at the ambulance service and they said they would need to check but would get back to me.

“I would have driven, but I had an operation on my knee at Christmas and was still unable to drive the car.”

On the day of the appointment, Irene received a call telling her transport had been arranged and she would be picked up in plenty of time to get to her appointment in Windygates at 1.30p.m.

But just hours later, Irene was told their was nothing available and she would have to make her own way there.

“They called and said that there weren’t any ambulances available and that was it - no other explanation,” said Irene.

“I was so shocked on the phone that I didn’t really ask questions. They told me that Elaine would have to get to the appointment on her own.”

This resulted in Irene having to order a return taxi to and from the hospital at a cost of nearly £30.

“That money has come out of my own pocket - it’s quite a lot of money when you’re a pensioner.

“When I told the hospital what had happened they said that there had been problems before, and one of Elaine’s neighbours has had to pay for taxis to her appointments too.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We are looking into the matter, but indications are that a resource issue meant that we were unable to transport the patient. They were advised of this the day before the appointment.

“We will be contacting the patient directly to apologise.”