The final area we looked at during the event in Duns was issues around transport to and from medical appointments.
Travel time and/or access to transport is not taken into account when appointments are being scheduled. It also feels like those who are making the appointments have limited local knowledge of how long the journey’s take.
“It may only be 12 miles but that can take over 2 hours on public transport by the time you get several buses”
“ I live down in Eyemouth, BGH sent me an appointment for 8.45am, I just can’t get there on the bus for that time so I had to rely on my daughter”
The cost of medical transport must be huge, how much is actually spent on it? Surely there are ways to make it more efficient? In addition to that which third sector organisations are also providing transport to appointments and how much time and money does that cost?
No concrete solutions were discussed but it was felt that lots of research was needed into how medical transport is organised in other areas and what the true cost of transport to medical appointments is before we can start to think about the solutions. The key areas were:
- Is it possible to match postcodes to appointments – do any other rural areas do this and if so how?
- Speak to carers, support workers & organisations who deliver transport to medical appointments to gain a better picture for the Borders.
- Is this something the Scottish Government research team would be interested in researching – write and ask?
- Does anywhere have a transport hub for medical transport? If so how does it work, is it a cheaper/better value for money solution?
To move this area forward Rural Wisdom will write to the Scottish Government to see if this could be a potential research area, they will also see if they can find out who the key people are for appointments to discuss the possibility of matching postcodes to appointments.
Community Transport, The Royal Voluntary Service & the Red Cross representatives who attended thought that they would be able to pull together the information about who is already delivering transport to medical appointments in Borders.
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