Ipswich: Hospital changes procedures after admitting a major mistake in sending frail patient on awful taxi journey to London

IPSWICH/SUFFOLK:Ipswich Hospital is today changing procedures after admitting a major mistake in sending a seriously ill patient on a transfer to a centre in London by taxi.

Husband Andy Weeding was furious when his frail wife Wendy was sent on a 93-mile cab journey to St Mark’s in Harrow.

On February 17, Mrs Weeding was transported to London wearing just a hospital gown in what was believed to be a decision based on saving part of the �500 it would have cost to send an ambulance.

Hospital chief executive Andrew Reed immediately apologised to the couple – and later met Mr Weeding to apologise in person.

Last night a hospital spokesman said:” What is clear is that we made a fundamental error of judgement. We got it wrong and we will learn from this and make sure it never happens again.

“We have introduced a rigorous criteria for the use of taxis for patients and strengthened decision making.”

Andy Weeding, 55, of Hintlesham, said: “Wendy is coming home from hospital on Tuesday, I am going to pick her up.

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“She has been in since November 24 and has been at St Marks in Harrow for the past three weeks.

“It has made it difficult to see her as I am working all week. I have been going down Saturday morning and coming home Sunday afternoon.

“It is very tiring and I am looking forward to having her home.

“I went to see Mr Reed and he said an investigation is ongoing and that he will keep me informed, so I am just waiting to hear from him. He has already apologised but we don’t know what will be done next.”

Mrs Weeding, aged 47, had an open stomach wound covered by a simple dressing which was sodden by the time she arrived at her north west London destination three hours and twenty minutes after leaving Ipswich.

The taxi driver became lost along the way and Mrs Weeding had to help by getting directions from passers by.