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Affordable travel scheme launched for patients

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By Amanda Kennedy
Annan and Eskdale
Affordable travel scheme launched for patients

A NEW scheme will offer a door-to-door transport service for out of the region hospital appointments - for just the price of equivalent rail or bus fare.

Annandale Community Transport Services, formerly Annandale Transport Initiative, have launched an affordable travel scheme to hospital appointments in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle to patients who don’t qualify for free transport from the ambulance service.

It allows the service to offer subsidised travel bringing the cost in line with public transport prices.

For example, the cost of a return trip from Lockerbie to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital would be under £30, opposed to the £217.19 sum that taxifarefinder.com suggests for the same trip.

Starting as a one-year pilot scheme in Annandale and Eskdale, the initiative could be rolled out across the region if it proves successful and further funding becomes available.

The pilot scheme is being run by Community Transport DG, a new social transport partnership involving Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, the local council and NHS and SWestrans, with the balance being funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s policy development funding for social/community transport.

Annandale community transport services manager Janet Saunders said the organisation was delighted to be delivering the new scheme: “The need for this became evident from the numerous enquiries we had from patients.

“Community Transport DG has given us the opportunity for our volunteers to take them to appointments in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Carlisle in community cars at the cost to patients of a second class rail fare.”

The service is available for those who have no other way to attend appointments.

David Link, development officer for Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, said: “This fantastic new service, made possible by our new regionwide social transport partnership, will be of huge benefit to patients faced with the considerable cost of travelling to appointments outwith the region. We hope it will prove successful and can go on to help people across Dumfries and Galloway.”

n To find out more about accessing the service, contact Annandale Community Transport Services through the website www.actsbus.org.uk or telephone 01576 203053.

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