A COUNCILLOR has criticised the North East Ambulance Service over confusion in providing transport to a scheduled hospital appointment in Cumbria.

Haltwhistle town councillor Margaret Forrest lambasted the ambulance service after she had to make her own travel arrangements to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

Coun. Forrest said: “I went to the hospital in Carlisle for my three-month check up in November.

“I rang the ambulance service a week before and asked for transport, but was told to get a taxi.

“I appealed the decision and it was agreed I could get transport to the hospital.

“However, a few days later I was told I couldn’t get transport.

“One of my friends offered to take me to the hospital so we travelled to my appointment.

“When I got to the hospital an ambulance turned up at my house, despite nobody telling me it was coming.”

Coun. Forrest dealt with the North East Ambulance Service, despite wanting to travel across the border to Cumbria for the hospital appointment, but added: “Surely it’s all one National Health Service and it’s a human right for someone to go to the hospital where the initial appointment took place?

“The way we are being treated is absolutely disgusting. We are being discriminated against.”

Strategic head of operations north at the North East Ambulance Service, Barry Dews, said: “We are contracted to provide scheduled care transport for patients residing in the North-East with a GP in this region, travelling to any hospital in the North-East.

“When we receive a request to transport a patient to another area, we are required to seek authorisation from a resident’s clinical care commissioning group.

“For patients to qualify for scheduled transport they must also meet eligibility criteria determined by the clinical commissioning group.”

Coun. Forrest said she had submitted a formal complaint to the ambulance service.