Free Southampton patient transport service marks its 1,000th journey

Patient Support Hub manager Emma Squires and Ricky Rossiter, Director of Integrated Services at SCiA

A Southampton service that provides free transport to people who would otherwise struggle to attend medical appointments is celebrating this week after completing 1,000 successful journeys (September 2021).

The service was launched in February by SCA Transport, which is part of the charity Social Care in Action (SCiA), and the Patient Support Hub at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Patient Support Hub Manager at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Emma Squires, says: “It’s a wonderful achievement to be celebrating our 1,000th journey for patients needing transport to medical and vaccination appointments. Our service supports the most vulnerable in the community, often those who are isolated.

“The Patient Support Hub at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to have joined forces with SCiA to ensure the success of this vital service.

“Aligning our work, putting our patients at the centre, has allowed us to help and support people more than ever before, and has also opened some important conversations.

“Our success with this work reinforces the huge impact that aligning voluntary sector services can have to the benefit of vulnerable people in Southampton. We are so excited for the future of this positive partnership and in making people’s lives a little bit easier wherever we can. We also offer volunteers to meet and greet patients off buses and help them, offering face to face befriending to improve their experiences, which means it’s so much more than a physical journey that we provide.”

This essential service collects and returns people aged 50 plus who cannot use public transport and don’t have their own vehicle to take them to and from their medical and vaccination appointments.

This includes those who are clinically vulnerable, have learning disabilities, a mental health condition or are unpaid carers living in Southampton, who would otherwise struggle to attend.

It transports recipients from their homes, anywhere in the city, to Southampton General Hospital, Royal South Hants Hospital, GP surgeries and other medical centres – excluding dentists and opticians.

Ricky Rossiter, Director of Integrated Services at SCiA says: “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s Patient Support Hub.

“Without this relationship the 1,000 journeys made so far would have been way beyond our ambitions and I know, now the wheels are rolling, we will keep supporting the most vulnerable individuals by getting them to their medical appointments and, more importantly, back to the comfort of their own homes.

“We hear it, day in and day out, from people we support, through the service, how important it is to them and the impact it has on their lives. It’s tremendously rewarding to be part of this wonderful service.”

SCA Transport uses an accessible minibus, that can carry wheelchairs, to provide the service, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8.30am until 4.15pm.

It is funded through Southampton city Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Ricky adds: “In the coming months, when the evenings draw in and the weather changes, people are at their most vulnerable and need our support. Add in the anticipated winter pressures to come and the booster Covid vaccinations too, and our service will be even more precious and impactful.”

Anyone who qualifies and is able to independently transfer onto the vehicle without the need for specialist equipment can book a free journey with SCA Transport on 023 8022 2033, email dialaride@sciagroup.co.uk or contact the Patient Support Hub on 0800 484 0135.

SCA Transport is part of Social Care in Action (SCiA), which is based on Dukes Road in Southampton and is a not-for-profit group of charitable social enterprises working together to improve health and wellbeing in communities across the south of England. 

For further details, please visit www.sciagroup.co.uk/transport-services-southampton.
Posted on Friday 24 September 2021