Safety policy ‘stupid’

HEALTH AND SAFETY: Irene Snaith with her wheeled frame, which she says an ambulance driver refused to take because of health and safety rules.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: Irene Snaith with her wheeled frame, which she says an ambulance driver refused to take because of health and safety rules.

A DISABLED woman has blasted ‘stupid’ health and safety rules after an ambulance driver taking her and her husband to hospital refused to take her support frame.

Irene Snaith, who struggles to walk without her three-wheeled frame, was accompanying her husband Brian to Leeds General Infirmary where he was receiving treatment for an illness.

She said she asked Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to send a car to transport them to the hospital last Monday because ambulance drivers had previously refused to take her frame, which folds up.

But she said the service still sent an ambulance to pick the couple up – and the driver would not take her frame.

She said: “She had me in tears with the stupidity of it. They say it’s health and safety.

“I had to take a stick and the driver had to hold my arm and walk me to the hospital and sit me on a chair. My husband had to help me and he is the poorly one.

“I had to sit in the hospital on a chair for nearly four hours because I can’t walk. I had to ask a male nurse to take me to the toilet. I thought it was horrific.”

Mrs Snaith said her husband would need treatment once a fortnight over six months, meaning she would have to struggle unless the driver agreed to take her frame.

She said: “It’s discrimination against the disabled. I am perfectly safe with my frame and have the freedom to move around and keep the circulation going in my bad leg. The frame is my lifesaver.”

Trust operations director Sarah Fatchett said the trust was committed to providing a high quality service and apologised to the couple.

She said: “A manager has spoken to Mrs Snaith directly. We have made the necessary arrangements to ensure this situation does not happen again.

“We are confident Mrs Snaith is reassured that the measures we have put in place will help avoid any problems with such travel arrangements for her and her husband in the future.”