Waitrose worker steps in to help Newmarket's Catriona get to hospital after E-Zec Medical Transport said she is no longer eligible
A Good Samaritan in a Waitrose uniform has come to the aid of a stranger in a heart-warming act of human kindness.
Catriona Pilborough, 62, who suffers from complex health issues and has frequent appointments at Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals had been told by the company contracted to provide hospital transport that she was no longer entitled to it.
On Tuesday morning, her GP surgery had contacted E-Zec Medical Transport on her behalf but they had refused to discuss the issue, saying that ‘a decision had been made’. A distraught Catriona called at the nearby Waitrose before taking a taxi back to her home at Bill Rickaby Drive.
“I was so upset and worried about how I would get to the three important appointments that were coming up in the next week that I just broke down in tears in the shop,” said Catriona. “The young lady behind the counter came out and asked me what was the matter and when I told her she said not to worry, she had the day off on Friday and would take me to Addenbrooke’s for my appointment for a CT scan to check the outcome of an operation I had on my oesophagus last June.
“She said her father might also be able help with the two appointments I had this week.”
The kind stranger was Fiona Clayton who, true to her word, drove Catriona to Cambridge on Friday. Her father Alan, a semi-retired electronics engineer, stepped in to take her to Papworth on Tuesday and will be driving her to Addenbrooke’s tomorrow.
Fiona, 42, who lives in Fordham and has worked at Waitrose for five years, said: “It was awful to see someone in such distress and I thought if no-one else could help her, I just happened to have the week off and was happy to lend a hand. I knew my Dad would like to help and he is great with people, so I volunteered him too.”
“I would like to think that if I was ever in need of help, like Catriona, someone would be there for me too,” added Fiona.
Catriona is hardly able to take in what had happened. “It was such an unbelievable act of kindness and I can’t begin to thank Fiona and Alan for their help. I just don’t know what I would have done without them”.
A spokesman for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and E-Zec Medical said: “Every patient requesting transport is judged against a strict set of criteria every time they call to book a journey.
“The patient concerned told us that she normally uses taxis to get to GP appointments and travel around generally, which means she does not fit our criteria. If someone is able to use taxis without specialist medical help they are not eligible for transport.
"After she told us she was finding taxis too expensive she was advised about her local community transport service and the NHS Travel Scheme which can provide assistance to people suffering financial hardship.”