A UTTOXETER action group is seeking answers from health chiefs over continuing issues for town residents travelling to hospital appointments.
The vice chairman of the Uttoxeter Community Action Group Jerry Latham spoke about the issue, which has been raised with him by patients travelling from Uttoxeter to appointments at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital, at the group’s meeting last week.
Mr Latham, who is actively involved with the Balance Street clinic’s Patient Participation Group (PPG), said he and fellow member John Titlow have been pressing for action on the issue for some time.
He said: “I have had a number of individual complaints from various people, particularly from those who use the two surgeries in Uttoxeter.
“I have been back and forth between the transport providers and the surgeries and it still is not clear who should be providing what.
“It all started with someone who had ophthalmology problems and had to go to the hospital in Burton for injections in their eyes and therefore could not drive to the hospital as once she left she couldn’t see properly.
“When she asked about getting help with travel she was asked if she was on benefits and when she said no she was told she would have to drive but obviously she can’t and a taxi costs around £40.
“It is not a very satisfactory situation at the moment and no one seems to want to claim responsibility.
“It is just a case of nibbling away at all the statutory bodies as this situation needs to be improved.” Secretary of the action group Bob Divers asked whether there was the possibility of a volunteer driver’s scheme being established to ease the situation.
However, Mr Latham said that idea had been investigated before whithout success and he called for someone to make clear what patients are entitled to in terms of travel to and from hospital.
He said: “There was a voluntary scheme mooted about three years ago by the lady who organises it in the Staffordshire Moorlands but there was a lack of volunteers.
“The rest of the district PPG’s are not really interested in the problem as they are all in Burton — it is the outlying rural areas that are affected.
“I just want someone to say what patients are entitled to as it seems if they are not on benefits they have to rely on taxis or on people giving them lifts.
“I have said that I really want a policy statement before we start bombarding our local MP for some action on this one.”