Cancer patient in 16-hour ordeal after ambulance no-show

An ambulance set to transport the patient to hospital never arrived due to a catalogue of errors. Picture: Johnston Press
An ambulance set to transport the patient to hospital never arrived due to a catalogue of errors. Picture: Johnston Press
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An elderly cancer patient was forced to wait more than 16 hours for treatment after a catalogue of errors by health authorities meant an ambulance set to transport her to hospital never arrived.

Nan Duffy, 74, was eventually driven from her home in Renfrew to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital by her son after waiting more than six hours for emergency crews.

The elderly patient was eventually driven to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Picture: Johnston Press

The elderly patient was eventually driven to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Picture: Johnston Press

Mrs Duffy, who was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer in October 2017, was referred to the facility by her GP following complaints of severe stomach pains, but went without seeing a doctor until 7am the next morning.

NHS Greater Glasgow have since apologised to Mrs Duffy, but family members have called for “further accountability” within the service.

Emergency call handlers made three calls to Mrs Duffy’s family after doctors called for a ‘four-hour ambulance’ on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 4, but crews had not arrived by 8:45pm, forcing Mrs Duffy’s son to drive her to the hospital himself.

Mrs Duffy, a former nurse at the old Southern General hospital, then had to wait until 7am the next morning for doctors to assess her, despite suffering chronic pain throughout the night.

Son Jim, 50, revealed the family had already received an “apology letter” from the health board for a previous incident during her illness.

He added: “You begin to wonder, how many apology letters have they had to send out since then?”

“People seem to be afraid to speak up because there is just no accountability, but this is happening all the time to patients with different conditions.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service revealed they would be contacting Mrs Duffy to apologise, blaming the wait on “high levels of demand”.

However, Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs MSP called on the ambulance service to provide a “full explanation to the family”.

He added: “This is another indication of the pressures that the Scottish Ambulance Service is under and SNP Ministers need to do more to support the service.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow said: “We are very sorry for the delay in admitting this patient. We appreciate the family were concerned by the length of time and are sorry they felt the need to complain.”