NOT HAPPY: Peter Auld wants answers from the NSW Ambulance Service.
NOT HAPPY: Peter Auld wants answers from the NSW Ambulance Service.

Air ambulance sorry for turbulent ride

MID North Coast Local Health District has sincerely apologised to a patient who experienced lenthy delays and issues while being flown from Coffs Harbour Hospital to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.

Helen Auld had been hospitalised with pnuemonia for more than a fortnight when doctors decided to send her to John Hunter Hospital for more specialised treatment. A flight was scheduled for 1pm on Saturday.

But when her husband Peter called John Hunter Hospital late in the afternoon to ensure she had arrived and was settled in for the night, he was told she was booked in but had not yet arrived and wouldn't for quite some time.

Mr Auld said the flight was first delayed by five hours and once she was boarded at 6pm, she was forced to wait another 1.5 hours while a flat battery was changed.

He said once they were finally in the air, the flight was then diverted to Tamworth for another pick-up before landing at Cessnock and finishing the trip via road ambulance.

Mrs Auld arrived at her final destination just before midnight.

A spokesperson for the Mid North Coast Local Health District said as the patient was not requiring emergency transfer she remained in care at Coffs Habour Base Hospital until an aircraft transport could be secured.

"A pre-flight check of the aircraft booked by Coffs Harbour Hospital found it had a flat battery, which resulted in a 1.5 hour delay.

"During the delay, the air transport service received a request from another Local Health District to assist with a time critical transfer of another patient, the aircraft made the diversion to collect the other patient.

"As Williamtown Airport closes at 10pm, both patients were then flown directly to Cessnock Airport where the air transport road service was waiting to transfer the patient in question to John Hunter Hospital."

The spokesperson said every effort is made to minimise disruption to transport arrangements for patients requiring transfer to another health facility.

"However there are times when changes need to be made to a scheduled flight to accommodate other patients requiring urgent medical transport and treatment."



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