Patient transport is always guaranteed to wind up the locals but the expectations people have are mindblowing.
At my hospital we have recently stopped the voluntary car service. I must stress, it's the car service which has been stopped not the patient transport provided by ambulances. The basic reason is that if you are fit enough to get in a voluntary car, you are fit enough to get in a cab and we could do with not spending £400k a year on the "volunteers" expenses. I realise that a lot of folk are pretty annoyed with us for stopping the transport but really, is it right that we spend taxpayers money getting patients to hospital when they can get there themselves? I would have an ounce of sympathy but some of these patients ask to be picked up at the local shops!
One of my colleagues recently asked a surgeon how they manage patient transport in the private sector. Amazingly, this doesn't seem to be a problem in the private sector; patients somehow always seem to make there own way to their appointment. Strange that!
Volunteer drivers hasn't been the only transport issue making the news. A couple of dears from a local small town made front page news complaining that there is no direct bus to (wait for it) one of their local hospitals. Sorry, but I thought it was the bus companies responsibility to sort out where the buses go! I mean let's face it, bus companies have a vested interest in finding where the fare paying public want to go and if there were more than 2 people making this journey on a regular basis, then it might be worth their while. What's sad about this story, is that my Trust has given the bus companies about £2m to run new bus journeys to the new hospital! Still, I now know what the £400k can go towards.
All in all, it's enough to drive you mad.