Hospital visitors in Renfrewshire can now book their seats for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s successful free evening hospital visitor transport service.
The door-to-door scheme was officially launched today (Monday, October 20), and will make hospital visiting easier for the relatives of patients in the Royal Alexandra Hospital and other acute hospitals in the board area.
A partnership between Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Renfrewshire Council, WRVS and Community Transport Glasgow.
Using council transport, all local residents are eligible, but the service will prioritise people who are over 60, disabled or on low incomes.
The service will be piloted between now and March 31 next year and passenger take-up evaluated by a steering group.
Chris Drapper, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Transport Projects Manager, said:
“Being able to visit relatives and friends in hospital is an important part of their recovery.
“This service not only offers a reliable option, but in designing the project we took on board community anxieties around travelling unaccompanied at night.
“The Board are delighted that we have been able to provide the initial funding support to extend this popular and free transport visiting service into Renfrewshire.
“Renfrewshire CHP has made a commitment, in partnership with the Council, to continue funding this service after this trial period for the immediate future.
“ We wish Renfrewshire CHP, Renfrewshire Council and the drivers of WRVS, in conjunction with Community Transport Glasgow and SPT who provide the management and booking facilities, every success in delivering this Hospital Transport Visitor Service"
SPT host the booking hotline and will schedule pick ups and drop offs. They will contact WRVS in Renfrewshire with the schedule for that evening by 5pm. WRVS will provide a driver and Renfrewshire Council will make a vehicle available.
Councillor Derek Mackay, Leaderof Renfrewshire Council,and Chair of Renfrewshire CHP, welcomed the expansion of the visitor transport service:
“Having a loved one in hospital is a traumatic experience for anyone so anything that makes visiting relatives and friends easier and safer is great news.
"And I am delighted the people who are in most need of a free, safe and easily accessible service will get it - especially those in our communities who feel particularly vulnerable being out in the evening.
“This is a good example of the council and the voluntary and health sectors working together to improve services in Renfrewshire.”
Fiona Mackay, Head of Planning and Health, Renfrewshire CHP, added: "We are delighted that this service is now available in the Renfrewshire area. We are very keen that as many people are aware of the service and are able to access it".
To use the service, clients phone a booking hotline0845 128 4027 (the line is open every afternoon) and transport can be booked up to one week in advance.
Clients will have to register and provide some information to ensure that those who really need the service are given priority. All information will be treated in the strictest of confidence and in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
Clients will have to give their address, which hospital they want to visit and what time visiting begins and ends. Pick up time will be confirmed by telephone and clients will be taken from their front door to a drop off point in the hospital. They will be given a time for the return journey, and be taken back home after visiting.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.