NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been able to continue providing essential transport for patients throughout COVID-19 thanks to the efforts of its Patient Transport Service drivers like David Robertson.
Clocking up hundreds of miles every week, David has been ferrying patients to and from Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s network of Community Assessment Centres (CACs), providing a vital, safe transport link ensure patients receive the treatment they require, when they require it, and without the risk of passing on the virus through public transport.
David operates a specially adapted minivan, one of a fleet of 14 which carries up to one couple from the same household at a time, ensuring social distancing between the patients and the driver. The fleet is active across the whole of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and can take passengers from anywhere within the region.
The service is supported by Assured Group, which provides daily deeps clean of the vehicles to ensure they comply with infection control standards.
David often acts as the first point of contact before a patient enters one of the CACs, and as well as driving, his job is also to provide patients with information on the logistics of a visit to the CAC, which can be daunting for patients who might be scared or nervous.
David said: “Patients might be anxious, unsure, or frightened so I think it’s really important to provide as much reassurance as possible. What’s great to see is for the vast majority on the trip back from the CAC, the relief is palpable. Even if they might have COVID-19, being given the right advice on treatment and how to manage it, has a really positive impact on their mental wellbeing.”
As well as taking patients from their homes to the CACs, David also takes them onto any further appointments which might be required, providing a door-to-door service for those without access to transport.
David continued: “The service is absolutely essential as there are any number of reasons a patient can’t drive. Our patient transport service means they don’t need to pay for a taxi which could cost upwards of £30-£40 to and from the Community Assessment Centres. Most importantly, they don’t need to get public transport and risk passing on or catching the virus. We provide each passenger with appropriate PPE before they enter the minivan, and the vehicle is cleaned down after each use to ensure the safety of the patients.”
For David, who has been a patient transport driver for more than 13 years, being able to provide such an important service, meet new people along the way, and act as a calming voice to many, provides him with great deal of job satisfaction, even in the midst of the pandemic.
David said: “This virus can affect anyone, and I’ve met people from all walks of life through my job during this pandemic. What keeps me going is knowing that I’m playing an important role within the health service, and providing a crucial link for those people during this time.
“The circumstances may have changed, but as before this pandemic, and as after this, I’ll continue to drive patients to their medical appointments, and I’ll be proud to do so.”
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