An investigation has been launched after a grandmother was forced to walk home from hospital in just her dressing gown, nightie and slippers in the middle of the night.
Barbara Hazzard, 74, was discharged by medics just four hours after arriving at St John’s Hospital in Livingston in an ambulance.
After being advised she could go home at 3am the pensioner was told NHS Lothian do not provide transport to take patients home.
She was left with the options of either phoning a taxi or taking a bus – which would not turn up for another six hours.
The grandmother-of-six had no money with her and no family members were available to collect her on 21 August.
She told staff this but, in a panic and still feeling unwell, she left and started the hour-and-a-half walk to her home in Blackburn – five miles away. Ms Hazzard said: “I was carrying a bag with drugs in it in my hand – I could have been attacked.
“I could have been knocked over by a car.”
Ms Hazzard has already had a double bypass and three stents put in her heart and also suffers from type 2 diabetes.
After feeling unwell for some time, she suddenly started to feel pains in her chest a few weeks ago, and booked an appointment to see a cardiologist, but she was told if she felt ill to call an ambulance.
She said: “The doctor was really good. He did all the checks he could do and at 3am said I could go home to rest and the cardiologist could take it from there on Tuesday.
“I asked a nurse if I could have transport home to Blackburn and she said ‘no, there’s a phone over there for taxis’.
“I was told I would have to phone some relatives but my daughter is up in ward 25 as a patient.”
Another nurse then suggested Ms Hazzard wait for the bus – which would not turn up until 9am.
She added: “I said I still had no money for my bus fare or my bus card and she just walked away. The other nurse just shrugged her shoulders and said, ‘well, that’s it’.”
“I’m divorced and live on my own. My daughter stays in Livingston and my nearest grandson stays in Kinross. My son was at a wedding in Perth.”
Jim Crombie, acting chief executive of NHS Lothian, said an investigation has been launched.
He said: “This was a distressing and upsetting episode for Mrs Hazzard and I would like to apologise to her that she had this experience following care in one of our hospitals.
“Mrs Hazzard has contacted us directly and we are investigating thoroughly to establish what happened. We will be in contact with her as soon as possible.”