Ealing Community Transport (ECT) is working in partnership with North West London CCG to provide free, assisted transport for patients to get to their GP appointments at 72 practices in Ealing, London. The service PlusBus for Health has helped 7,952 patients get to their appointments over the last year. However of those 72 practices there are a third who haven’t signed up for the free service and we would like to change that.
ECT identified that access to transport is one of the biggest barriers to regular engagement with healthcare for lonely and isolated individuals. The PlusBus for Health service aims to reduce the number of GP house calls and missed appointments. We can help patients if they can’t safely get to the GP practice on their own, if access to support from friends and family is limited, and/or the patient needs transport for clinical reasons due to disability, lack of mobility or other health problems.
PlusBus for Health is commissioned by North West London CCG and is free to GP practices. It’s a simple system as the GP controls the booking of PlusBus for Health ensuring it’s reserved for those that are in most need. As GPs book the transport, the patients' mind-sets shift and they are more likely to attend appointments. The service is designed to enable GPs to optimise patient healthcare with direct savings to the NHS while building independence and increased well-being amongst our ageing population.
It is a proactive service allowing GPs to decide when patients should see a GP to manage their health conditions. While at the practice patients can access the full range of medical facilities and this may offset the need for repeat visits, and ensure GPs and nurses can collect patient data for improved health management. It’s also a cost saving.
Fayyaz Dar, General Manager at ECT says: “PlusBus for Health reaches the most vulnerable patients because the proactive decision making is out of their hands. It serves patients with dementia who have lost the capacity to be proactive. It also serves lonely and isolated patients who worry about the practicalities of leaving their home and “being a burden”.
It’s easy to sign up - surgeries can ring 020 8813 3214 to find out more about the service, or please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.