A MAN with Parkinson’s disease said he almost had to crawl through Heathrow Airport when his medication ran out and British Airways staff told him they couldn’t help.
David Allan of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, was due to depart Gatwick for Edinburgh at 9.25 pm but was notified his plane had been axed.
He was then made aware that he wouldn’t be able to fly until 10pm the following night.
The delay meant David would be short of his medication because he only brought enough for his two-day board meeting in the capital.
David, who also sits on the board of Parkinson’s UK, takes 27 tablets a day at specific times.
After trying NHS 111, a chemist and urgent treatment centre, David was unable to find supplies.
His medication soon began to wear off and he struggled so much with his mobility he could barely walk and felt light-headed and faint.
At the special assistance desk at Heathrow before his journey home, Mr Allan said he was told BA had not transferred his requirement for assistance from Gatwick and were fully booked so could not help him.
Recounting the traumatic experience, he said: “After making sure again there was no medication available at the pharmacies in Heathrow I made my way to security.
“I was more or less on my hands and knees crawling through airport security.
“David’s treatment by the airline, airports and the NHS is completely shocking and unacceptable”
“I’m prone to falling as a result of my Parkinson’s – especially when I’m off – so that journey through a busy airport was extremely difficult as I was afraid of being knocked over.
“Previous falls had led me to fracture both my hips and therefore having both hips replaced.
“I warned the security team that I had metal hips and would set off the detectors.
“But I was in such a state – shaking, dizzy and crawling – that the security team decided I was acting suspiciously and took me aside for further probing.”
Mr Allan added: “It seems ridiculous that in this modern, connected world there was no way I could access medication and that the airline and airports were so ill-equipped to help.
“I’ll be taking extra supplies with me every time I travel in future.”
Annie Macleod, Scotland director at Parkinson’s UK, said it was concerning no medication was available to Mr Allan.
“David’s treatment by the airline, airports and the NHS is completely shocking and unacceptable,” she said.
“It beggars belief that companies could be so callous and lacking in understanding of Parkinson’s and the impact of not having medication.”
She added: “Parkinson’s UK calls on everyone involved to review and improve their processes when dealing with people with Parkinson’s.”
BA also said it recommends customers carry enough medication to allow for any disruption to their travel plans.
A BA spokeswoman said: “We’re sorry to hear of Mr Allan’s experience during the major weather and air traffic control disruption which affected a number of airlines last week.
“More than a million customers requiring assistance choose to fly with us every year and we take their needs extremely seriously. We are investigating what happened with the assistance provider appointed by the airport.”
A spokeswoman for Heathrow said: “The experience that Mr Allan had when travelling through our airport is unacceptable and we apologise unreservedly that this fell short of standards we expect.”