Patient's long journey home

BARGARA man Robert Sim said he was shocked by the lack of help given to him by hospital staff after he was left to walk home following a bike crash.

The keen cyclist was riding his bike along the Coastal Pathway at Bargara when he had an accident which caused him to fall down a 3m cliff.

“I don't know what went wrong, I just woke up at the bottom of this cliff,” Mr Sim said.

He was taken to the Bundaberg Hospital by ambulance, treated and then discharged around 11.30pm on a Saturday.

Mr Sim told staff there was no way he could get home as he had no one to pick him up.

He claims the staff told him the taxi voucher service they offer to help people get home was no longer in operation and he would have to find his own way home.

“They said the system they have to help people get home had been cancelled and they couldn't help me,” he said.

“I didn't know what to do, I didn't have my wallet and the taxi driver I asked said I couldn't pay when I got home.”

The father of three was left with no other option than to walk the 15km to his Bargara home.

“It took me almost eight hours,” he said.

“What about the elderly or the mentally ill and disabled people, they may not have made it at all.”

However, Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service northern cluster manager Beth Norton said the voucher system is still in place and all staff are aware of the procedure.

“Bundaberg Hospital has a range of options available for patients facing transport or accommodation issues after being discharged from hospital or treated in the emergency department,” she said.

“If a staff member has failed to bring these support options to the attention of a patient we would immediately apologise for any inconvenience that may have caused.”

The issue was more than an inconvenience to Mr Sim, who said he was upset to learn the service was in operation and had not been offered to him.

“If I had known they could help I would have begged,” he said.

The walk home was a scary one for Mr Sim who said intoxicated pub-goers threw bottles at him.

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