Concern for ‘trapped’ patients

Tony Farrow EMN-150603-090556001
Tony Farrow EMN-150603-090556001

A call has been made for more to be done to help people who struggle to attend appointments at hospitals and GP surgeries.

The plea comes from Tony Farrow, chairman of Sleaford Voluntary Car Service, following what he described as many ‘very distressed’ callers in recent months.

The service provides transport for people with no other means of getting to hospital, GP, and other appointments.

Mr Farrow said: “Many explain to me that they seem trapped at home – where they require dressings to be changed, they cannot walk, and have been told to get a bus to a surgery.

“The last eight calls I have received under this same banner are where people feel just unwell, and feel they have been dropped out of society.

“They are very bitter as they have paid into the service they require.”

He called for more to be done to help such people, adding health authorities needed to stand up against cuts.

“I hope people who have the positions that can affect services to people use their common sense and help these people in need,” he said.

In reponse to these concerns, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Lincoln County Hospital and Grantham and District Hospital, directed the Standard to the local clinical commissioning group, as it commissions services.

At the time of going to press, the NHS South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group had yet to comment.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), which runs community nursing, moved to allay concerns over cuts.

Sarah McKown, interim deputy chief nurse, said: “There has been no reduction in community healthcare activity within LCHS. In fact, the last six months has seen an increase in activity across community healthcare.

“At LCHS we aim to deliver care closer to home, and as winter approaches it is even more important that we do everything possible to prevent clinically unnecessary hospital admissions.”

Similarly, Stephen Phillips, MP for Sleaford and North Kesteven, said: “It is important to understand that there have been no cuts in the NHS budget, and it is growing in real terms.

“The Government has committed to increasing NHS spending in England by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.

“This is on top of the £2billion of investment announced in the Autumn Statement last year. Our NHS is something to be proud of, and I support these increases in funding to ensure that we can all continue to rely on it.”