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Funding secures transport services for hospital patients

£67,000 allocated to the Rural Transport Solutions Project.

Patients will be taken home from Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary as soon as they have been discharged instead of staying an additional night due to lack of transport.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown Yesterday met with organisers of the Rural Transport Solution project which has set up a pilot to provide vital patient transport.

The project aims to develop and deliver new ways to improve rural transport by working with Dumfries and Galloway Council, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Ambulance Service and community transport providers.

It will complement and improve the existing network by achieving efficiencies through shared use of assets across the public and voluntary sectors in order to cut costs and safeguarding existing services in a rural areas.

£67,000 was allocated to the project in 2013 through the Bus Investment Fund which encourages partnership working to help improve bus services, standards and infrastructure for communities across Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said:

“Investment in this valuable service is great news for local patients and the Health Service. It means patients, who previously may have had to stay an extra night in hospital, can be discharged and get home sooner while freeing up hospital beds and reducing costs to our NHS.

“This project is the first step to achieving a sustainable transport solution for Dumfries and Galloway and will encourage partnership working to deliver flexible transport solutions.

“The Bus Investment Fund supports community groups, authorities and operators across the country, helping to improve the standard of bus services, increasing patronage thereby achieving greater modal shift.”

Harry Thomson, Lead Officer SWestrans said:

“We are pleased to have been awarded Bus Investment Funding towards the Rural Transport Solutions (RTS) project which will help to develop a sustainable delivery model in order to facilitate more resource sharing, including staff and vehicles, across the public and voluntary sectors.

“This funding has helped us to coordinate this patient discharge service using a Council vehicle and driver, and NHS staff to assist with escort duties, to ensure the NHS can arrange for patients to be taken home as soon as they can be discharged, and using more specialist Scottish Ambulance Service resources where they are most effective.

“This is currently being piloted and, if evaluation indicates that it has been successful, it will become standard procedure, as it increases patient flow through the system, improving clinical performance and reducing costs.”

Gail Robertson, NHS Dumfries and Galloway said:

“This pilot has allowed the NHS to work with our local authority partner to explore the idea of a "transport hub" model within Dumfries and Galloway. This model will ensure those with an identified need for transport are discharged in a timely manner from hospital and that all our transport resources including third sector and the Scottish Ambulance Service are used more effectively.

“Pending a formal evaluation the initial feedback has been positive from both staff and patients. I look forward to having the opportunity to work with our partners in implementing a permanent model which improves service delivery for our patients.”

Notes To Editors

The Rural Transport Solutions project will complement and improve the existing network by achieving efficiencies through shared use of assets in order to cut costs, safeguarding existing services in a predominantly rural area. BIF will go toward co-ordinating costs and insurance costs.

Total Project cost - £102,000

Fund contribution - £67,000.

Rural Transport Solutions is one of the thirteen projects selected to be taken forward for grant funding under the first round of The Bus Investment Fund 2013.

The Bus Investment Fund (BIF) was set up in 2013 as a new challenge fund open to applications from public transport authorities working in partnership with operators, community transport, NHS, and other public or private sector partners.

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