NEARLY a third of hospital patients who had previously been given free patient transport are now being refused.
The East of England Ambulance Service took over management of the service six months ago – since then it has cut the number of people being given patient transport by 30 per cent.
That has angered Pamela and John Crane who live in Leech Walk, Bury St Edmunds.
“We have enough problems without the people that should be helping making things worse,” said Mrs Crane who is 65
She suffers from diabetic myopathy and uses a wheelchair, while Mr Crane, who is diabetic, had a leg amputated two and a half years ago.
“It had never been a problem before getting transport but the last two or three times they have refused us saying that because we get disability living allowance, that we should use that money.
“It would be a £20 trip by taxi – we sometimes have to go to hospital three times a week. We can’t afford that.”
She says other patients have lost appointments as they cannot afford to get to the hospital.
The couple use their £54 a week allowance to pay for a car – although John, who has a false leg, is currently unable to drive it.
An ambulance service spokeswoman said national eligibility criteria had not changed but was being applied ‘more fairly’.
She said Mr Crane had been refused transport but has since been classed as eligible after he gave different health information.
“Mrs Crane was given transport in March but was able to make her own way back. No further requests have been made on her behalf,” the spokeswoman said.