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Free Hospital Visitor Transport Scheme a Hit With Passengers

September 24, 2007 10:28 AM

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s free Hospital Evening Visitor Transport Service has been given the “thumbs up” by passengers.

A customer satisfaction survey reveals that 99 per cent of registered clients who responded described the drivers as “excellent”, 97 per cent give the same rating for punctuality, and vehicle cleanliness scored 96 per cent.

Since its October launch last year passengers have made more than 7000 journeys, and the service now has 400 plus registered users.

And when asked if they could have used public transport but decided not to, 59 per cent replied that the journey would have taken too long.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde set up the unique scheme together with other public sector partners, and in partnership with the voluntary sector.

Using community transport, all Glasgow city residents are eligible, but the service prioritises people who are older, disabled or on low incomes.

The aim was to overcome transport problems faced by relatives and friends of hospital patients.

Chris Drapper, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Transport Projects Manager, the first post of its kind in the NHS in Scotland, said: 

“We knew that there was a need and a demand for this bus service and the survey backs it up.

“Having access to virtual door-to-door hospital transport means that relatives and friends can visit patients regularly without in some cases having to change buses twice or even more.

“It also offers security to lone women or elderly people who may be anxious about using public transport at night.”

Many of the service users in the survey have included comments praising the service –

“I think the service being offered is a god send to people and I hope it continues.  Without it, myself and other family members would have great difficulty visiting every evening.  Thank you to everyone involved.”

“If I get the bus (public transport) I have a long walk to reach my house after it.  So I prefer not to use public transport at night as I am frightened.  The Community Bus is perfect because it drops me at my front door.”

“I travel alone, and as I am a woman on her own I feel safe with this service.”

Glasgow City Council is a key partner in the project, they provide support to Community Transport Glasgow to develop the community transport sector, while Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) deliver the expertise to manage the booking and despatch system.

Chair of SPT, Alistair Watson said:  “I thought this service was an excellent idea when it was launched and I’m delighted that it’s had such good reviews from passengers.

“One of our aims at SPT is to improve public transport links to hospitals – we’ve got to make it easier and safer for people going to visit their loved ones.

“Following the success of this scheme, I’d like to think we can work with our other health board partners – Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and Arran – to introduce similar initiatives in other parts of Strathclyde.”

The service is free of charge and operates on weekdays between 6-10 pm.

It currently covers the following Glasgow hospitals - Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary, Victoria Infirmary, Stobhill Hospital, Southern General, and Gartnavel General.

Notes to Editors:

Chris Drapper, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Transport Projects Manager, is available for interview and can be contacted by telephoning 0141 201 4429.

A number of partners are involved in this project - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde provide funding to Community Transport Glasgow (CTG) to operate the service; Glasgow City Council provides support to CTG to develop the Community Transport sector in the city; and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport is commissioned to provide the expertise to manage the booking and despatch system.
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The Booking Hotline for the Evening Visitor Service is 0845 128 4027.

Community Transport Glasgow is a membership organisation made up of the five Community Transport Operators who work throughout Glasgow.

Ends
For further information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.

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