Thursday, 02 April 2020

Volunteer drivers asked to help NHS with patient transport

THE Fish volunteer centre in Sonning Common has been asked to help the NHS with patient transport.

The move follows a talk given at the centre in Kennylands Road by Rob Thompson, volunteer services manager for South Central Ambulance Service.

Speaking to about 60 members of the charity, he said the ambulance service sometimes had to pay for taxis to transport people to and from hospital if no ambulances were available.

Mr Thompson said the service wanted to work with Fish, a charity which provides transport for people in the village and surrounding area who don’t have vehicles of their own or are unable to drive.

Fish chairman Richard McQuillan said: “The talk was about trying to reduce the number of taxis they have to pay for. When they can’t provide transport they have to use taxis.

“They are hoping to liaise with voluntary driving services like ours so we can help them out.  If we sign up to it they will contact us, saying someone needs to go to the Royal Berkshire Hospital or whatever and we will help them out and they will give us a fee for that.”

He said that nothing had been agreed by the members.

“There was some discussion and it was stimulating,” said Mr McQuillan. “The majority thought it was a good thing.

“I think if it came into force it would be a good thing in many ways but it would produce more work.”

Members, including the volunteer drivers, also spent time socialising over refreshments. Mr McQuillan said: “It’s good for them to get together otherwise they’re all driving around and never meet each other. We had a few sandwiches, cakes and a chat.”

Mr Thompson said later: “We are very grateful for the time afforded to us by Fish to talk about our new volunteer partnership scheme and we are excited to hopefully be working with them in the future.

“The purpose of the scheme is both to enhance the service we provide and to increase the availability of our patient transport service ambulance crews.”

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