Extended clinic opening times prompts appeal for drivers

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Government moves to extend opening times of GP surgeries and hospital clinics is having a knock-on effect on voluntary car services.

Sleaford Area Voluntary Car Service provides transport for local patients with no other means of getting to hospital or doctor’s appointments, but co-ordinator Tony Farrow says new changes to when you can get an appointment means he is appealing for more volunteer drivers to cover the increased and wider demand.

Mr Farrow said: “With the changes to opening times people can get appointments for things like x-rays on Saturdays and so we are needed for them to travel. We didn’t used to work on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Our drivers don’t mind doing it but I can see there is going to be a lot more work, so we need to get more drivers recruited to cover.”

Volunteer drivers can contribute as much or little time as they can manage and will be reimbursed for their mileage at a standard rate of 40p per mile for fuel.

If interested contact Tony Farrow on 01529 455110 or leave a message.

Mr Farrow added: “We seem to be needing to go to specialist centres more further afield now as well, such as Leeds, Manchester, Leicester and Peterborough, as well as the Lincolnshire hospitals. This is partly because some specialist departments are no longer there.”

He added that the car service was also being used more since rules had tightened up on who was eligible for NHS hospital transport service.

The car service’s call centre will be closed for one week from October 24 to November 3 while work is done to the telephone system and office staff take a week off.