New criteria which means some patients can no longer access transport to healthcare represent a “dangerous disservice” to patients.
That’s the view of former Berwick Borough and North Sunderland Parish Councillor Bill Weeks, who is furious with new national guidelines introduced by the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group on October 20.
The new rules have seen patients phone to book their usual ambulance taxi for coming appointments or operations, only to be told they are no longer eligible.
Commenting on the Berwick Advertiser’s Facebook page, Irene Windram said she was “made to feel like a scrounger” when she asked for transport to hospital for an eye operation. “As a result my sister is losing a day’s work without pay to take me,” Ms Windram said.
Mr Weeks, who lives in Seahouses, this week branded the move “catastrophic”.
He said: “It’s a disgusting decision. The people who have made it should be made accountable, and told in no uncertain terms this is a dangerous disservice to the people it will effect. It will have a catastrophic effect on the health and wellbeing of people, through no fault of their own, who are trying to access essential medical care.”
Mr Weeks also condemned the CCG for not informing patients about the changes before they were implemented. “It’s absolutely disgusting,” he said. “The way it has been presented is an insult to the sick and the elderly.”
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith has described the move as a “ham-fisted attempt” to stop unnecessary use of patient transport, and is putting pressure on the CCG to use some “common sense”.
Writing in this week’s Berwick Advertiser, he added: “I have had numerous calls to my surgery and my office from desperately worried constituents. It seems that a ham-fisted attempt to stop unnecessary and unjustified use of patient transport by a minority has hit the very people for whom patient transport was designed and is essential. It is once again treating Berwick people unfairly in access to public services.”
> It’s all part of the on-going austerity-as-excuse- for-privatisation-of-the- NHS drive. As a Lib Dem MP, and therefore a member of the coalition that’s in the driving seat, surely he can’t be suprised ?
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 15 Nov 2014