NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is preparing to launch two unique transport initiatives to improve access to hospitals for patients and visitors.
The projects will be overseen by Christopher Drapper, the recently appointed Transport Projects Manager, for Scotland's biggest health board.
One project has been designed for housebound patients and will be piloted for six months, at a cost of £35,000, in the East and South West Community Health and Care Partnerships in Glasgow.
Mr Drapper explained: "Patients with chronic diseases will be able to arrange to be picked up in people-style carriers operated by Glasgow Community Transport, and taken from their homes to clinics for appointments, and brought home again.
"It is estimated that around 900 chronically ill patients could benefit from this service."
The second project, the Evening Visitor Scheme, targets all residents within the Glasgow city postcode area, and will be free of charge.
Mr Drapper went on: "In designing these services a critical point was to take on board community anxieties around travelling unaccompanied at night.
"This initiative will not only help family and friends of patients visiting them hospital, but also address concerns around personal safety while travelling at night."
This scheme will operate on weekdays between 6-10pm, and covers the following Glasgow hospitals – Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary, Victoria Infirmary, Stobhill Hospital, Southern General, and Gartnavel General.
Again, using community transport, people who are older, disabled or on low incomes, or have other transport issues, can book a place, date and time for pick up and return home.
A number of partners are involved in this project - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are providing 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 Passenger Transport, are providing the expertise and funding to manage the booking and despatch system.
Mr Drapper added: "These schemes are clear examples of how NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are looking at imaginative ways of improving transport options for our patients and their visitors.
"We are well aware of the challenges that getting to and from hospital can present to those who use our service and finding innovative ways of tackling these issues is a key concern. Patient transport is an integral part of patient care."
For further information please contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Press Desk on 0141 201 4429.