Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Patient left locked in ambulance

Merseyside ambulance
The man was stuck in the ambulance at the NHS station for five hours

NHS bosses have apologised to a patient in Manchester who was locked in an ambulance for five hours after the driver went home and forgot about him.

The man, 65, was stranded at Sharston ambulance station, Wythenshawe, after being collected by an ambulance from Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The alarm was raised when he failed to return to the care home where he lives.

The North West Ambulance Service said an inquiry had begun and a staff member "was suspended with immediate effect".

The incident happened on Tuesday when the patient was collected from the hospital at 1915 GMT.

Instead of being returned to the care home, he was driven back to the ambulance station where he was left until 0100 GMT.

This has never happened before and it will never happen again
North West Ambulance Service spokesman

The ambulance service said it received a call from the care home at 2030 GMT and later sent other staff to the station to collect the patient's paperwork to see where the man had been taken, when he was discovered.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: "We are very sorry this incident took place.

"This has never happened before and it will never happen again.

"We have met with the patient and family to discuss the matter and will continue to liaise with them throughout this process."

Police were informed at the time of the man's disappearance, but no criminal investigation is understood to have been launched.

The patient was examined by paramedics after he was discovered and taken back to hospital for further medical checks.

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