Two new pilot transport initiatives are set to commence in Worcestershire.
The initiatives have resulted from discussions between health services, the not-for-profit transport sector and the County Council and centre around assisting those unable to travel by other means to get to GP and hospital appointments as well as for hospital visits.
'Journeys to Health' will provide journeys to a range of healthcare settings including GP Surgeries, Kidderminster and Tenbury hospitals in the Wyre Forest, and north Malvern Hills districts.
Wyre Forest Dial-a-Ride is the lead organisation and will be working in conjunction with Community Transport Wyre Forest and Tenbury Transport Trust on this seven month pilot project which will be starting in September. Publicity will be distributed shortly and will provide the dedicated telephone number for potential passengers to call to book their journey.
'Community Transport Connections' will provide transport for people in Redditch, Worcester and the rural areas in between who wish to get to the Alexandra and Worcester Royal Hospitals.
Droitwich Spa Rural Council for Voluntary Service are leading their partner Community Transport schemes in Pershore, Redditch, Evesham and Worcester in the projects delivery and, again, it will commence in September with publicity available over the coming weeks.
Cllr Alan Amos, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways, said: "It is hugely important that transport options are available for people who need to get to their local GP or hospital. We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with health services and community transport groups to provide these pilot schemes that will allow people to get to a variety of healthcare settings quickly and safely.
"'Transport to Health' and 'Community Transport Connections' will be assets to the community and provide affordable and reliable transport to medical settings across the county."
Simon Trickett, Accountable Officer for three Worcestershire CCGs, said: “We’re pleased that two transport schemes will soon be in place to offer local residents improved access to healthcare services.
“During work to reconfigure acute hospital services in the county, lots of people told us how they struggle to get to the different hospital sites. The transport options available were reviewed and hopefully these new services will help to strengthen local transport links.
“Both schemes will offer an individual, patient focussed service supporting those who are unable to travel to do so.”
Both initiatives are supported by the Department for Transport's Total Transport Fund which was awarded to the County Council and will seek to gather information about patients and hospital visitors' transport needs.