CANCER patients can wait for up to two hours for transport back to Bolton from The Christie Hospital in Manchester, the health scrutiny committee chairman has revealed, speaking about his own experience.

Cllr Martin Donaghy, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year, has asked for the matter to be discussed at the next health and adult social care scrutiny committee meeting.

He said: “The service going there generally is okay but coming back, when you go to the transport office, they book your transport via North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) but you’re told to wait 90 minutes. They say, ‘don’t go up to the counter until 90 minutes has elapsed.’ But a couple of times they checked after 90 minutes and NWAS hadn’t even booked it."

Bolton CCG chief executive Su Long said that NWAS provides the patient transport service which is subject to performance targets.

She said: "Bolton clinical commissioning group has a referral booking team who support people who meet the criteria for transport to hospital appointments. However, Christie Hospital prefer to arrange the transport themselves for patients undergoing tests or treatment at Christie Hospital due to the necessity for people to arrive on time for these important appointments."

The patient charter states that if patients are having renal dialysis or cancer treatment, they will be collected from hospital within 60 minutes on 85 per cent of occasions and no loner than 90 minutes on 90 per cent of occasions.

Cllr Donaghy, who received his latest treatment in Wigan at the weekend, had been referred to the Christie for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

He added: “In my case, when I was going over to The Christie, my treatment was literally 15 minutes. You can wait anything up to two hours for transport up to Bolton."