National NHS Outpatient Transport Provision

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2010 Retired Members' Conference
22 June 2010

The arrangements for outpatients who have to attend hospitals to keep appointments, and who have need of transport from home to the NHS establishment, are not on a NATIONAL basis and are consequently not acceptable. The Minister responsible for transport to and from NHS establishments must authorise an appropriate national system that will end the current “postcode lottery” caused by local policies. it will be essential that the system is advertised widely together with the criteria for eligibility.

Currently, outpatients who request transport have to answer a verbal questionnaire. If they do not meet the local criteria (bearing in mind that age, bad weather and many other conditions are often not included), they are told to get a bus, a taxi or ask a friend or relative to take them. This is very difficult for those who are live alone; who live at a distance from family or friends or bus routes, or who live in relative poverty. Even where buses are available close to home – and free to those with bus passes – they cannot provide a door-to-door service. This conference calls upon the Unison National Retired Members Committee and the NEC to use all powers at their disposal to raise awareness of the difficulties being encountered, especially by older, frail, disabled, and disadvantaged people in our communities as they try to keep hospital appointments.