Integrated transport project drives forward support for health and social care

Lochaber transport advice and bookings service
Standing (left to right) Flora McKee, Vincent Thirion, Peggy Kourmoulaki, and Steve Pimborough of Lochaber Transport Advice and Bookings Service. Seated (left to right) William Gilfillan, Highland Council’s Director Community Services; Gerald McIntyre, Chairman Voluntary Action Lochaber; Councillor Brian Murphy, Chairman, Lochaber Transport Forum; Stephen Graham CIP Project Manager. Photograph by Iain Ferguson

A new Transport Advice and Bookings Service for Lochaber was launched in Fort William today (16 June). The new service aims to seek a more joined-up approach to the provision of transport in the area - primarily for people attending health and social care appointments and to encourage social inclusion activities.

Funded by the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate, The Highland Council and HITRANS - the pilot project in Lochaber is the central initiative of the Integrated Transport Provision Project – its partners comprising NHS Highland, Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership, Scottish Ambulance Service, Voluntary Action Lochaber and The Highland Council.

The project was formed by the Highland partner agencies as a response to Audit Scotland’s comments on transport support for the delivery of health and social care. The project partners added social inclusion to the pilot project’s scope to encourage community well-being. The outcomes of the Lochaber pilot will be used in consideration of whether a sustainable transport co-ordination, planning and provision service can be provided in the wider Highlands.

Voluntary Action Lochaber is providing the Transport Advice and Bookings Service which is manned by local people who know the area. The number to phone is: 01397 701022 or email:

Gerald McIntyre, Chairman, Voluntary Action Lochaber said: “VAL is proud and privileged to be involved in this project.  I am indebted to VAL staff members, past and present, for the time and effort put into securing this contract.  I am confident that we have a dedicated team in place who will take this initiative through to a successful conclusion.

Councillor Brian Murphy, Chairman, Lochaber Transport Forum welcomed the launch of the new project, he said: “I am delighted that this innovative co-operative working approach to explore transport solutions is being trialled in Lochaber. The booking services will also assist with information to help other travellers and not just health care patients including the general public and community groups to plan their journeys.” 

Ranald Robertson, Partnership Director HITRANS said: “The Lochaber project is one of two pilots to have been successful in securing funding from the Scottish Government and we are delighted to be involved in a project which will help improve the co-ordination and integration of health and social care transport for all users in the area. The aim is that this pilot will develop a model that can then be replicated elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands.”

Joanna Hynd, NHS Highland District Manager Lochaber said: “We welcome the opportunity to look at our transport provision more innovatively. NHS Highland is committed to supporting the Integrated Transport project in Lochaber. We are looking forward to viewing the outcomes of the pilot which we hope will help to inform and improve access to patient health care and services throughout the area.”


16 Jun 2014