Free NHS transport service for GP patients axed after one year

A transport service ferrying patients to a doctor's surgery has been axed, a year after it was introduced.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 6:20 pm
Frail and elderly patients have been offered a lift from Wrenthorpe to Outwood Park Medical Centre for the last year.

The NHS agreed to drive elderly and frail patients from Wrenthorpe to appointments at Outwood Park Medical Centre after the village's surgery closed last September.

But Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has now ended the free service, after it was revealed that just six per cent of patients offered the transport took it up.

The remainder chose to have a home visit instead, and as a result a report recommended that it was not worth keeping the transport going.

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Wrenthorpe and Outwood West councillor Nic Stansby criticised the decision to end the service.

The CCG, who signed off the move at a meeting on Tuesday, said the decision had been made "carefully".

Mel Brown, director of integrated care at the CCG, said: "Capacity has increased at Outwood since last year, and we now have 11 GPs working there now.

"That has also meant more appointments are taking place there.

"The (council's health) overview and scrutiny committee made some requests for further information about this, and they've now agreed to close this matter, though local ward members are able to have further conversations with us if any issues arise."

The meeting was told that patient satisfaction with Outwood Park has improved from 75 per cent to 79 per cent over last year, and people ringing the surgery are reporting it is now easier to get through on the phone.

But Wrenthorpe and Outwood West councillor Nic Stansby said the decision may leave some vulnerable patients "stranded".

"I'm very disappointed with this" she said.

"There isn't the decent public transport going to and from the venue and it will make things awkward for some people now.

"I don't think the service was well publicised enough. It was a condition of being allowed to close Wrenthorpe Surgery in the first place.

Home visits will continue to be offered to all patients who would have been entitled to the transport.

Local Democracy Reporting Service