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COVID-19: New Transport Service Launched for Tayside Patients

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NHS Tayside has launched a new transport service for patients who have no other means of travelling to healthcare sites.

Due to public transport restrictions or other personal circumstances, some people have been finding it difficult to attend the COVID-19 Community Assessment Hubs or their regular hospital appointments, such as renal dialysis.

In order to support these patients, NHS Tayside worked with GPs, Transport Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service and Health Protection Scotland to develop a transport hub to help people with travel to and from healthcare sites. Staff at assessment centres, GP practices and hospitals can organise transport for patients through the transport hub.

The Scottish Ambulance Service will still be supporting patients who need to go to a hospital in an emergency or those with limited mobility.

The new service is running from 8 am to 8 pm, seven-days-a-week with staff who have voluntarily redeployed from other areas as drivers.

It has been set up thanks to generous donations from local businesses. Arnold Clark has provided 15 vehicles which have been fitted with bulkhead partitions to provide a safe space between drivers and patients with potential COVID-19. BP has given fuel, vehicle trackers have been provided by Telematics, Tesco has provided mobile phone cradles, and Halfords has donated child seats.

The service is also being support by Assured Group, which is providing a daily deep clean of the vehicles to ensure they comply with infection control standards. All drivers also have access to appropriate PPE.

Associate Director for Improvement Tracey Williams said, “After we set up our network of Community Assessment Hubs across the region, we recognised that some people were struggling to get to these centres and to appointments at our hospitals. This may be because they do not drive and are unable to use public transport because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are shielding or self-isolating, or they may not feel well enough to drive themselves.

“We have been able to offer this service to those who need our support thanks to some very generous local companies and we are very grateful to all of them for their donations. It really is making a positive difference for our patients.”

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