Letter from one of our committed members to the Tribune
I am worried about further cuts in patient care. Last year the Trib highlighted the case of Elizabeth who cannot walk so needs non-emergency transport for her regular appointments at the Royal Free Hospital. She was denied access to her appointments.
The Royal Free had (& has) a contract with a German firm for non-urgent transport. The definition they use for who qualifies is more restricted than that previously used. Elizabeth, now in her 80’s, has only her pension to support her, was told to take a taxi.
After complaints from N. Islington Disability Forum and Islington Pensioners’ Forum, she now has to complete a 20-page application form every 3 months for transport. This is despite the fact that her GP and her specialist both insist that her conditions cannot improve, only stabilise.
I understand that the N. Middlesex, the Whittington and Moorfields Hospitals have all signed contracts with the same company which runs the Royal Free’s non-urgent transport. Their contracts are due to start on July 1st. Can the Boards of these hospitals please promise your readers immediately that disabled or older patients who have incurable conditions and who get non-emergency hospital transport at present will not be denied it after July 1st. Why should patients, like Elizabeth, be tormented by constant form-filling if our conditions are impossible to cure?
I note that Transport For All (which campaigns for transport to be made accessible to all disabled and older people inquiries (www.transportforall.org.uk ) recently conducted a survey on non-emergency hospital transport which indicated a substantial increase in complaints.
You may also want to contact Islington Keep Our NHS Public which is campaigning locally on non-urgent transport to hospital appointments. Why should disabled or older patients with incurable conditions, like Elizabeth, be denied transport or tormented by constant form-filling about incurable conditions?