Lochaber minibus trial extended
Issued by NHS Highland
A Transport Advice and Booking Service pilot in Lochaber has been extended to include a drop-off at patient’s homes.
The scheme was initially launched in June last year led by Highland Council in conjunction with its project partners in Lochaber – NHS Highland, Scottish Ambulance Service and the Lochaber Transport Advice and Booking Service (LTABS).
It seeks 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.
The progress made by the pilot has resulted in a three month trail to assess the capability of using a Fort William care home’s minibus to deliver patients to their appointments at the renal unit at the Belford Hospital.
Project manager Stephen Graham said: “During the initial weeks of the trial service, the Invernevis Care Home’s minibus took patients to their appointments, and they would be taken home afterwards by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“With patients and the renal unit being very satisfied that the transport service is being delivered to a high standard, it has allowed the scope of the trial to be extended to taking the patients home after their treatment.”
LTABS, which is co-ordinating the trial, uses an innovative approach to transport solutions while maintaining the high level of care for patients. This co-operative approach to transport across Lochaber involves all aspects of transport, from commercial to community transport, delivering better uses of Lochaber’s collective resources to provide transport solutions to the community.
“The benefits to the community are accessible and cost effective transport solutions, enabling more access to hospital and doctors surgeries,” said Flora McKee from LTABS.
“The renal transport pilot is just one example of the collaborative work undertaken by the service developing in-house transport solutions for the NHS to the benefit of Lochaber residents.”
NHS Highland rural general hospital manager at the Belford hospital, Marie Law, said: “This project exemplifies the quality improvements we can jointly achieve by sharing our resources.
“Everyone in the group values and respects the Scottish Ambulance Service and their essential role in the achievement of high standards of care for patients, so the fact that the project has allowed the service to be better used for the public is deeply satisfying.”
Steven Gorman, Scottish Ambulance Service area service manager, said: “We are all working together to deliver an integrated solution that is designed around the needs of the community and ensures that people benefit from transport that is most appropriate for them.
“This also allows more flexibility for our Patient Transport Service to support transfers between hospitals, along with more serious clinical cases.”
NHS Highland area manager Tracy Ligema said: “The care home services in Fort William have been used very positively to support an integrated approach to taking patients to and from Belford for renal dialysis.
“The drivers have accommodated changes to the routine in the care home to support the trial. We are very happy to be working alongside partner agencies to deliver local services for Fort William patients.”