Even the simplest healthcare visit can be an anxious experience if the journey to and from the centre or hospital is difficult. Investigating this, the Market Drayton Patients’ Group Forum commissioned a survey (which appeared in the October ’21 Messenger), inviting people to describe their experiences. The survey suggested that travel for healthcare appointments or hospital visits is a significant undertaking for many.
Approximately 60% of responses expressed little or no satisfaction with current travel arrangements. Even among private car users, the availability and cost of parking was identified as a problem. Other individuals, experienced a variety of difficulties arising from cost, convenience and availability of transport.
For those who use buses, the absence of a direct service to hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford and the (in)frequency of services featured strongly, with hospital visits associated with “a long day” when travel time was included. The availability of Taxis was similarly criticised and they were seen as “too expensive”.
Most respondents self-identified as being aged 65 or over, and although the survey received only 64 responses, a total of 342 healthcare visits were described. Private cars were used for two-thirds of visits, but mode of travel by 20% of respondents potentially changed from visit-to-visit, suggesting that, for some, travel for healthcare is a complex exercise. Some appointments had to be re-arranged to meet travel options and in one instance, an appointment was missed because travel was unaffordable.
Almost 87% of respondents believed that if a specific vehicle were to be provided for healthcare visits they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘sometimes likely’ to make use of it, irrespective of their current travel arrangements!
The Patients’ Group plan to explore opportunities for transport funding, and would like to thank The Drayton Messenger, Market Drayton Civic Centres, local pharmacies and Churches for their support in distributing the survey, together with a thank you to Robin Bladen-Hovell, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Keele Business School for analysing the survey responses.