A CCG is investing £250,000 in transporting elderly patients to their GP appointments, so that busy GPs can make fewer home visits.
Ealing Community Transport (ECT), the charity providing the service, said the service will save GPs time and resources and – unlike a regular bus or taxi service – its drivers are made aware of the patients’ special health needs. It also allows for an escort or carer to ride along.
The number of participating GP practices has reached 15 in the first two months of the pilot while an additional 13 are in the process of joining. A number of other practices have also expressed interest in the scheme, for which the CCG has set aside £250,000 this year.
ECT chief executive Anna Whitty said: ‘The pilot is very innovative, but not logistically difficult. GPs and other health professionals have for decades made house calls to patients. Other than those who are genuinely bedridden, most could get to the surgery if only they had specialist transport.
‘This will save the GP practice valuable time and resource when primary care is generally stretched.’
Ealing CCG chair Dr Mohini Parmar said: ‘We hope to see more GP practices participating in this scheme over time as it proves itself to be a success.’