In May 2017 we released our Home to Health report which looked at how to make it easier for volunteer drivers to take people without their own transport to hospital appointments in Buckinghamshire.
One of our recommendations was that Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and Community Impact Bucks should explore setting up a hospital parking permit scheme for community car driver schemes within Buckinghamshire.
In September we received a reply from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
To improve patient experience of getting to hospital using Community Transport, we recommended:
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and Community Impact Bucks should explore setting up a hospital parking permit scheme for community car driver schemes within Buckinghamshire
- Community Impact Bucks should explore with relevant stakeholders funding options to enable development and delivery of the above
- Any scheme that is developed should be based on the Hampshire model, informed by the
Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and Community Care North Bucks Hospital Car Service pilotscheme, as the basis for the Buckinghamshire scheme.
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust should explore the feasibility of dedicated parking spaces at hospitals for volunteer drivers and investigate the possibility of commercial sponsorship for such dedicated parking spaces
- Community Impact Bucks should explore extending the scheme to hospitals and other health related destinations outside the geographical county
Buckinghamshire Healthcare trust response
I am writing in response to the recent Healthwatch Bucks Home to Health report and the recommendations relating to Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Firstly, I would like to thank you and the team for this report and the work you did, along with Community Impact Bucks, to support and enable a pilot for voluntary car drivers bringing patients to our site. We recognise and appreciate the great work of the volunteers who provide this important service to people who have difficulties travelling to health appointments.
Your report and recommendations highlight the opportunities for health providers, including BHT, to further support these volunteer schemes. It recognises the governance and management arrangements that would also need to be in place, with Community Impact Bucks identified as an independent organisation that would coordinate.
In relation to the recommendation for BHT to explore establishing a permit scheme for volunteer drivers, we have met with Community Impact Bucks to begin scoping out what the scheme would entail. In order for us to assess the feasibility of rolling the scheme out we are seeking to understand with Community Impact Bucks how many voluntary car schemes would be eligible, how many visits are likely to be undertaken on a daily / weekly basis, and what the requirements of the volunteer drivers would be.
We already provide drop-off (20 minute wait) zones across our main sites, which all visitors including voluntary car schemes are able to use, and are seeking to understand if this would be sufficient for the scheme.
We also understand that Community Impact Bucks would need to secure funding in order to set up and manage the scheme.
We are continuing to explore and discuss this with Community Impact Bucks, and we will keep Healthwatch Bucks informed as these discussions progress and when any decisions are taken.
What we think
We believe the response to be a positive one which paves the way for relevant parties to work together to enable the scheme to be rolled out.
We are pleased that discussions are progressing and look forward to future updates from both Community Impact Bucks and Buckinghamshire Healthcare trust.