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Thousands paid for bruised toenail suffered by two south east ambulance patients
Patients who bruised their toenails in ambulances have been paid thousands of pounds in compensation by the ambulance trust which serves Sussex.
South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) Trust paid £3,400 and £3,500 to two patients who filed similar toenail-related complaints under public liability claims.
In June 2013 a patient who bruised their right toenail after a step slipped on an ambulance received £3,500.
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In November 2012 a patient wearing flip-flops suffered a bloody toenail after getting his foot trapped and received £3,400.
Both complaints were settled out of court.
Details of the incidents were revealed following a Freedom of Information request to the trust.
The trust said in relation to the 2013 incident: “The side step pedal was released so the claimant could get into the patient transport ambulance.
“When the claimant put foot on the step it slipped back in, bruising the patient's right big toe nail, resulting in the claimant being unable to weight bear.”
The trust said in relation to the 2012 incident: “Opened the side door [to ambulance] and pressed the pedal to release the side step.
“The step did not extend fully and lock.
“Before crew could pull the step out patient stepped on the step with his left foot.
“The step slid back under the vehicle with the patient's foot still on it, trapping his foot. It should be noted that the patient was wearing an open toe style flip-flop sandal.
“The patient's big toe nail was damaged and bleeding.”
Robert Oxley, campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is utterly absurd that taxpayers are footing a compensation bill for a bruised toenail.
“This is further evidence that the compensation culture is alive and kicking - at taxpayers' expense.
“The trust should focus on transporting patients safely, rather than wasting cash on this ridiculous pay-out.”
Over the past three years the trust has not paid any clinical negligence claims.
A SECAmb spokesman said: “We take patient safety very seriously and are sorry for any injuries that are caused while patients are in our care.
“However these two incidents need to be seen in the context of the number of patient journeys we undertake each year.
“Last year we responded to more than 600,000 calls.
“It should also be noted that any compensation is awarded by the NHS Litigation Authority and not by the trust.”
No one from the NHS Litigation Authority was available to comment at The Argus went to press last night.
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