Consultation on transport for appointments

PATIENTS free transport to hospital appointments could be under threat as health chiefs prepare to reassess the criteria for eligibility. A public consultation, due to be launched by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in May, will ask: As the NH

PATIENTS' free transport to hospital appointments could be under threat as health chiefs prepare to reassess the criteria for eligibility.

A public consultation, due to be launched by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in May, will ask: "As the NHS has limited resources, please tell us which groups of people you think should be prioritised to receive NHS funded transport to hospital appointments and planned treatment."

A selection of groups will be specified and are likely to include people who:

- require assistance, because of their medical condition, in order to travel


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- are in receipt of benefits or pensioners who may be on low incomes

- do not drive or own a car

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- live in an area with infrequent public transport eg: rural areas

- are carers with daytime caring responsibilities

- do not wish to drive

The chief executive of the Trust was keen to point out that this reassessment of eligibility has no link to the contract for patient transport services being handed to a private company, Medical Services, later this year.

Nick Carver said that even if the East of England Ambulance Service had clung onto the contract, the public consultation would still be going ahead.

The Trust's board will make the final decision in the autumn.

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