Community Transport means lots of different things to a lot of different people. From a young person hiring a scooter to get to and from work, the lifeline of community buses in rural areas, to dial-a-ride minibuses taking people to the local shops, these organsiations provide services that are essential to those who use them.
One of the most valued kinds of community transport is transport to Health appointments. Whether a patient needs to get to their GP; the local hospital; phlebotomy clinic; the chiropractor, or for more specialist services like dialysis on the renal ward, Community Transport operators are providing accessible and inclusive health transport for patients day in, day out. You can read some of our members’ case studies below.
The Transport to Health services delivered by our members is just as varied as the rest of the CT sector. When we are asked by partners such as the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales or the NHS Confederation to describe how Community Transport operators support patients to access appointments, it can be quite a challenge to sum it up. We know of CTA members who deliver contracted support to the Ambulance Service to transport patients to get to weekly appointments. There are also community car schemes who are paid by the patients themselves to take them to regular and/or occasional appointments. There are lift share schemes, ‘Bus Buddies’ who support people to build their confidence using the public bus network, and community bus services which take visitors to see their friends and relatives during evening visitor hours.
For many, there are no public buses which connect their community to the nearest hospital, or maybe the GP surgery has moved and now they can’t walk there like they used to. Imagine having a condition which means you can’t walk to your nearest bus stop, or you had to give up your car and you can’t afford the taxi fare. If you have friends or family who can give you a lift then that’s wonderful, but lots of people don’t. These are the people supported by community transport.
We would like to see policy makers and commissioners think more about the different ways in which patients get to their appointments. Could services be planned or delivered differently to make them more accessible? Could you work with your local community transport provider to give patients more options to get to their appointments?
To help paint the picture of how community transport operators support patients and their local Health Boards, we have begun a series of case studies which you can read below. The first four feature CTA members in Wales, and we are grateful to Accessible Caring Transport, Gower Voluntary Transport, Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern and Conwy Community Car Scheme for taking the time to share their stories.
If you would like to learn more about community transport and how it can support and enhance the way you deliver and commission services, please contact Director for Wales and UK lead for research and policy campaigns Christine Boston on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you provide these vital services in your area, we would love to hear from you about how you help people to get to their Health Appointments. Please contact Gemma Lelliott, CTA’s Support and Engagement Executive for South Wales on email@example.com if you would like us to write a case study featuring your work. Help us to show just how vital these community transport services are.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.