Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Search

Felixstowe: NHS bosses urged to think again over free hospital transport rules

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 February 2013

Wheelchair-bound Debbie Farrow who has been told she no longer qualifies for hospital ambulance transport and has to pay £50 for a special taxi each time she has an appointment.

Wheelchair-bound Debbie Farrow who has been told she no longer qualifies for hospital ambulance transport and has to pay £50 for a special taxi each time she has an appointment.

Archant

WHEELCHAIR-bound Debbie Farrow is today calling for a rethink over free hospital transport after being told she would have to pay for a taxi to appointments.

She is one of many across the county who have been told they no longer qualify for a lift to and from their home – and are fit enough to get themselves to hospital.

New rules say the only people eligible for free transport are those that need medical support during their journey, and if they can use public transport in normal circumstances, they can use it instead of an NHS vehicle.

Ms Farrow, 43, of Crown Street, Walton, Felixstowe, claimed said the £50-plus cost of a round trip in an adapted taxi is crippling her finances.

She suffers from a range of illnesses including osteoporosis of the spine and severe brittle asthma, is blind in one eye, has an over-active thyroid, poor circulation and a hernia.

She said: “I think it is disgusting that the transport has been stopped and I now have to fund it out of my own pocket – if I need two or three appointments in a short space of time, there is no way I can afford it.

“I am confined to a wheelchair and have always had transport provided for my regular appointments at outpatients and various clinics. I need help in and out of the vehicle and there are times I have needed oxygen.

“When I was at the hospital last week, I heard two that people who should have arrived for appointments that afternoon had not turned up because they could not get there, so this is affecting a lot of people.”

Hospital transport rules have been changed to save taxpayers’ money and because it was felt previously people were receiving free lifts who could easily arrange their own transport. However, there has been criticism of the changes with South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo saying the system had gone from being “too lenient” to the other extreme.

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “Since September 2011, national guidelines issued by the Department of Health have been applied to ensure that those patients who are eligible for free NHS funded transport are given it.

“If a patient feels they have been unfairly declined access to free NHS-funded transport, they should contact the NHS Suffolk Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800 389 6819 to appeal against the decision.”

One person was rescued from a fire in a house in Braeburn Close near Woodbridge Road on the eastern side of Ipswich late on Sunday night.

Suffolk is set to launch a new campaign to try to find more foster-carers for children who need to be moved away from their own families.

Long, long ago (well, Saturday) in a galaxy far, far away (okay, Bury St Edmunds) stormtroopers from the planet Coruscant invaded the centre of a peaceful civilisation.

MP Therese Coffey has refused to apologise after questioning why police kept Orwell Bridge closed for eight hours following a fatal accident.

Eight fans were arrested by police after trouble broke out among a small group of football supporters at the end of the East Anglian derby at Portman Road in Ipswich.

An Ipswich nursery has been given the worst-possible Ofsted rating after an inspection raised concerns over leadership, safeguarding and outcomes.

A 21-year-old man was treated for stab wounds after being robbed in Colchester’s Greenstead Estate on Saturday evening.

A children’s book set along the banks of the river Orwell was brought to life during a marathon reading hosted at a Suffolk sailing club marking 80 years since it was published.

Ipswich Town fans rose to their feet to give an emotional applause in a mark of respect to the family of Blues and England legend Terry Butcher, who lost one of his sons this week.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices are to benefit from a rock concert with a difference at Suffolk New College in November.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24