Hospital transport is very important to people who have a learning disability. We rely on it to get to appointments, so it is very disruptive if something changes.
When Nigel had a follow up appointment about his cataracts, he needed to travel from Banbury to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Although he had booked hospital transport it was cancelled without explanation at the last minute. This made Nigel anxious about getting there. His wife Tracey explained, “Luckily I was able to go with him because he wouldn’t have been able to get there on his own.”
Kristian was unable to attend a hospital appointment because there wasn’t an available driver.
In part 11 of our interview with Dominic Slowie, the National Clinical Director for Learning Disabilities, Tracey asks him:
“How do you think a hospital should operate this [transport] service so that an acceptable standard is reached?”
These are some things we learnt from his answer:
- It sometimes isn’t the hospital that runs the hospital transport service, it’s the ambulance trust.
- Simon Stevens (the chief executive of NHS England) has suggested a more person-centred system. He thinks there should be a united health and social care budget, and if somebody needs hospital transport it could be put in to their personal commissioning budget. Then they could use that money to organise hospital transport that is appropriate for them.
- If you have a bad experience with hospital transport, you should speak up and tell the hospital or ambulance trust about it. Dominic says: “There are people who run that service that probably aren’t aware that it’s happening.”