A HEART patient was transferred from Hammersmith Hospital in a TAXI just days after undergoing a triple bypass operation, health chiefs have admitted.

Iver Green, 69, was taken to Watford General Hospital on a three-and-a-half hour journey, which should have taken approximately 40 minutes, in a private taxi with other patients 12 days after undergoing the procedure in March.

The man's family, from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, lodged a formal complaint with Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, which has apologised for their distress.

Mr Iver's daughter, Sharon Kavanagh, told the St Albans and Harpenden Review: "It is absolutely disgusting that they could treat someone like this, so soon after undergoing a major operation. All through the journey my dad was ringing my mum in a very emotional state in which my mum was frantic as were myself and family because we were not able to do anything to help him."

She said her father was left outside in the freezing cold waiting for the taxi, only wearing his pyjamas, when he was advised to hold a pillow to his chest to protect his operation wounds.

Mrs Kavanagh added: "It has been a nightmare. He was brought in a taxi along with other patients who needed to be dropped home. I don’t understand why he didn’t travel in an ambulance."

A spokesman for the hospital said the taxi was in line with normal medical procedures provided by a privatised specialist transport service and equipped with wheelchairs and oxygen.

He said the driver would have been in full ambulance uniform and medically trained.

But he added: "The Trust recognises Mr Green was not provided with the correct transport between Hammersmith Hospital and Watford General Hospital, and should have been transferred in a single person ambulance that would have been faster and would have allowed him greater dignity and comfort.

"This error is not acceptable and we are investigating how it could have happened. In the meantime that Trust has written to Mr Green and his family to apologise unreservedly for this mistake and will do everything possible to prevent it happening again in the future."