Wheelchair man’s shock

DOUBLE leg amputee James Iveson, 52, was left almost speechless when an ambulanceman threatened not to take him to hospital - because he had the wrong shaped wheelchair.

DOUBLE leg amputee James Iveson, 52, was left almost speechless when an ambulanceman threatened not to take him to hospital - because he had the wrong shaped wheelchair.

For more than two and a half years, ambulance crew had taken wheelchair-bound James to at least 30 appointments - without any hitches.

But when an ambulance turned up to take James for a follow-up appointment after an eye-sight saving operation for glaucoma, he was told: “Sorry, we can’t take you.”

Said retired paraplegic basketball player James, of Fraser Road, Brixington: “He said drivers were no longer allowed to pick up patients with low-backed sports-type wheelchairs. I was really annoyed.

“The driver told me a South Western Ambulance Service internal email meant he could not take me.

“It’s never happened before and it’s the only wheelchair I’ve got. They had taken me to the operation 10 days earlier - without saying a word.

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“If they change the rules, what’s the point of not telling people.”

Angry James, who was born with spina bifida, which led to his double amputation, argued his case with the driver, who relented and took him to the West of England Eye Clinic in Exeter.

Eventually, James arrived for his appointment 40 minutes late.

Now James is worried that he will have to hire an acceptable wheelchair each time he has a future appointment. “It looks like I’ll have to hire one out of my own pocket, which could cost me �15 a time.”

A spokesperson for the trust said: “South Western Ambulance Service would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Iveson for the delay, which led to him being late for his appointment.

“The trust has been made aware of the potential hazards in transporting patients in low-backed wheelchairs and takes the safety of its patients and that of its staff very seriously.

“In order to ensure that no further inconveniences are experienced, and to explain the reason for his delay, a local operational manager will arrange to meet with Mr Iveson to carry out an assessment of his specific requirements.”

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