The patient was sent to Waterford UH from St Luke’s in Kilkenny for an urgent scan
A 68-year-old Kilkenny patient had to call for a taxi home from Waterford University Hospital after no transportation was arranged for the woman, the Kilkenny People can reveal.
The patient was sent to Waterford UH from St Luke’s in Kilkenny for an urgent scan and was later discharged but soon realised neither hospital had arranged a way home for her.
Fianna Fáil TD, John McGuinness, described the situation as the “human consequence of the ambulance situation”.
Deputy McGuinness said: “She went to St Luke’s and needed an urgent scan in Waterford UH.
“There was no ambulance. The woman was quite ill. After a big fight in the hospital they sent her down to Waterford by taxi. She was an urgent case. She was down there all day until 7pm. There was no train or bus home.
“St Luke’s sent her down in a taxi and made no arrangements to get her back home.”
The taxi driver who drove the patient from St Luke’s to Waterford UH had given the woman a business card. She called the taxi company number when she was discharged and presumed the hospital would pay for her journey home.
Deputy McGuinness said: “When she got home the taxi driver looked for the €86 fare and in fairness, the driver took the hit.”
It’s understood the driver – who drove from Kilkenny to pick up the woman - told her he would try and get the fare from one of the hospitals.
The woman has not received any bill from the driver or the hospital.
A spokesperson for Waterford UH said “patients are expected to make their own transport arrangements following discharge”.
They added: “However in certain exceptional cases where patients are unable to secure private transport, the hospital can facilitate the use of taxi services.
“It should be noted that taxis are normally only provided when patients have no other means of transportation.”
In a statement, the Ireland East Hospital Group – of which St Luke’s is a member – said: “We can confirm that it is not standard practice for patients to be billed for taxis.
“Taxi companies used by St Luke’s General Hospital bill the hospital directly in terms of journeys ordered by the hospital in respect of patients who need to go to another hospital for treatment.”