Anger at rise in hospital transport costs

PUBLISHED: 10:55 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

A PATIENT has reacted angrily to the price increase for a voluntary transport service that takes people to hospital. Marion Gould, aged 57, of Sandridge Road, St Albans, needs to get to St Albans City Hospital regularly. She said the increase in the mini

A PATIENT has reacted angrily to the price increase for a voluntary transport service that takes people to hospital.

Marion Gould, aged 57, of Sandridge Road, St Albans, needs to get to St Albans City Hospital regularly.

She said the increase in the minimum cost of a journey to hospital from £2 to £5, imposed by West Herts Hospitals Trust, would hit her hard

The trust offers a service - called Voluntary Service Transport - where volunteers take patients to hospital and they have their fuel cost reimbursed.

It is intended for those not eligible for the Patient Transport Service - an ambulance that takes non-emergency patients, mainly with mobility problems, to hospital.

But the trust said last week that they raised the price of the service to cover the increasing costs of fuel. On March 1, the minimum cost of a journey was raised by £3 and the pence-per-mile cost has gone up from 45p to 60p.

Marion, who suffers from arthritis, has had a partial stroke and suffers from a neurological disorder. She lives on benefits and has to make trips to the hospital several times a week.

She said the increase would take a big chunk out of her budget and wondered if the trust really needed the money.

She said: "I was quite shocked to read about it. It would almost be cheaper taking a taxi for me but the volunteer helps me get in and out of the car."

She added that she was angry that the trust had raised the price for people who could probably least afford it.

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