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Cabinet Secretary Supports Innovative Transport Scheme

August 27, 2009 3:19 PM

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An innovative new scheme to provide hospital patients with Personalised Journey Plans was launched today by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and Traveline Scotland.

Guest of honour at the launch was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, who was delighted to see the scheme in operation and meet the brains behind it.

Today’s launch celebrates the fact that patients attending appointments at a number of Glasgow hospitals will now be issued with a printed Personalised Journey Plan alongside their usual appointment letter. The journey plan gives detailed instructions on how to get from the patient’s home to the hospital, by using public transport and/or walking.

The partnership project, which is the result of much hard work since early 2008, was devised and funded by SPT to the tune of £37,000. Traveline Scotland provided invaluable journey planning expertise to get it off the ground, while work to create and issue the journey plans is carried out by NHSGGC staff at its contact centre in Gartnavel General Hospital.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Personalised Journey Plan being rolled out today by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Traveline Scotland and SPT provides patients with valuable information which not only raises awareness of more sustainable travel options but also helps to reduce missed appointments.

“In addition, by using the information supplied in their personalised plans patients are able to save time, money and reduce some of the stresses associated with visits to hospital at what can be a very difficult time.”

Alistair Watson, Chair of SPT, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working at its best, to the benefit of everyone. Personalised Journey Plans also encourage a move away from private car use. By providing detailed information they allow people to make more informed choices when travelling to appointments.

“It is especially important to provide this tailored information where travel to healthcare is concerned, because we all recognise that when a person has health worries, journey planning is unlikely to be their top priority.”

The information provided in the journey plans benefits patients by encouraging gentle exercise, saving on travel costs, alerting concession pass holders to free or moderately priced transport, reducing carbon emissions, and helping to reduce the number of missed hospital appointments.

Andrew Robertson, Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, speaking at the event said: “The Personalised Journey Plan initiative will lead to real benefits for our patients by providing individual ‘door to door’ public transport information in an easy to read format. It will also reduce reliance on taxis and the time and effort taken to get to hospital. This project also forms part of a wider approach to improving information on transport to our hospitals and health centres.

“Much of the success of this new project is due to the dedication, expertise and commitment of all those involved in particular our health records staff and the partnership working between all of the agencies involved.

“We are currently looking at plans to roll out this exciting new project across other sites in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.”

John Elliott, Chief Executive of Traveline Scotland, said: “True awareness of public transport options can only be properly delivered by various agencies working together. Partnerships and joined-up thinking – as demonstrated by this project – have very real and beneficial outcomes for ordinary people.

“It is not correct to assume that everyone knows how to get to hospital by public transport – indeed initial research by SPT and NHSGGC indicates that a majority currently do not.”
ENDS

Further enquiries: Stephanie Todd
SPT Media Office
0141 333 3147 / 07971 386822

Notes to Editors:
Late last year a three-month Personalised Journey Plan pilot scheme took place, with customer feedback questionnaires issued to all participants. These showed:

• 100% of respondents found their journey plan easy to understand with no follow-up calls to Traveline Scotland required
• 75% of respondents found the journey plans useful
• 54% of respondents said the journey plan had informed them of public transport options they were not previously aware of
• More than half of respondents chose to walk or travel by public transport when attending their appointment
• While the majority of respondents still travelled as a car passenger (23%), the second most popular mode of transport was bus (21%), which beat driving (20%) as a favoured option
• Walking, a combination of walking and bus, and train travel were all more popular with respondents than travelling by taxi, while Subway/walking and train/walking were more popular than the Ambulance patient transport system

Word of the successful pilot has spread to other Health Boards and Regional Transport Partnerships. SPT, NHSGGC and Traveline Scotland are happy to work with these organisations to take the scheme nationwide.

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