A HEART attack patient has said he is just ‘relieved to have survived’ following a botched transfer between two Oxfordshire hospitals.

With blood pressure 'through the roof', Colin Hewitt, from Clifton, was forced to take a late-night taxi from the John Radcliffe Hospital to the Horton General in Banbury where he was met with an empty reception desk, dark corridors and locked doors.

Just hours after having an operation, the 72-year-old then had to find his own way through the hospital to his recovery ward, carrying his own bags, climbing two flights of stairs and making his way down more empty corridors.

Mr Hewitt has since written a letter to local health bosses and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to highlight his ordeal and said unless health bosses ring the changes at the county’s hospitals ‘somebody will die’.

In his letter Mr Hewitt praised the ‘majority’ of NHS staff concerned with his care but has called for a full investigation into the matter in an effort to make sure it does not happen to anyone else.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has said it is ‘very concerned’ about the incident.

Mr Hewitt, now recovering at home, said: “I’ve had many horrific thoughts about what could have happened.

“I sincerely believe that somebody more frail than myself could have died given the situation that was presented to me.”

The retired engineer, who is also diabetic, was taken to the Horton after suffering a heart attack at his Clifton home on March 28.

After suffering a sleepless night on a mobile bed in the A&E department he was told he would need a stent - a small metal tube inserted into the artery to keep it open - and so was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital the following day.

Having initially been informed he would be able to remain there overnight after the operation, he was then told after arriving at the John Radcliffe he was the ‘responsibility of the Horton’ and an ambulance had been booked for 5pm to take him back after the stent had been inserted.

However, he was forced to wait until 10pm until his transport turned up which turned out not to be an ambulance but a taxi, despite his wife Sue, trained in first aid, offering to drive him.

He said: “We had asked if my wife could have driven me at about 6pm but they said as we would effectively be checking me out of the system and that meant I might not be re-admitted if there were any complications.

“That frightened us to death.

“They also told us I needed to be taken to the Horton with a medic as my blood pressure was still through the roof, just in case anything happened.

He continued: “I got outside, the doors shut behind me but I couldn’t see any ambulance.

“I looked around but nothing. I was just left there in the pouring rain at 10pm at night before the taxi driver said to me he was there to take me to the Horton.”

Climbing into the back, Mr Hewitt then had to direct the driver to the hospital in Banbury.

On arrival he was then met with an empty reception desk and no one tell him where he was to go.

He said: “I tried the cardio-rehab ward which was a long walk away, but the doors were locked, so I went back outside to the A&E department where the nurse told me I was in Juniper Ward.

“Again I had to walk there myself, I wasn’t offered any help or a wheelchair, carrying my bags up two flights of stairs.

“I was exhausted by this stage.”

Eventually he got to his bed just minutes before the ward doors were locked for the night.

He added: "“I’m just relieved to have got through it. My main concern is to make sure this doesn’t happen again."

An OUH spokesman said: “We are grateful to Mr Hewitt for his positive comments about the ‘care and professionalism’ of the clinical staff who cared for him during his recent treatment at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

“However, we are very concerned by the complaints raised by Mr Hewitt about other aspects of his experience in our hospitals. The issues which he has highlighted in his letter are extremely concerning and we are investigating them as a matter of urgency.”

The Trust added that it was committed to learning lessons when care falls below that expected by patients and their families.