Charity steps in to help get patient to hospital

PUBLISHED: 18:40 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

A CHARITY has responded to situation oft a frail pensioner suffering from cancer who was told he would have to pay £70 for a taxi to get to and from his Harpenden home to Watford Hospital for a scan. The man in his seventies had been given ambulance trans

A CHARITY has responded to situation oft a frail pensioner suffering from cancer who was told he would have to pay £70 for a taxi to get to and from his Harpenden home to Watford Hospital for a scan.

The man in his seventies had been given ambulance transport to and from Hemel Hempstead Hospital for his chemotherapy treatments. But when he rang to arrange similar transport for his scan at Watford Hospital he was told that he didn't qualify for the ambulance journey.

Ann Brooks, chairman of Harpenden Helping Hands (HHH), a charity set up in 1971 to provide transport to those in need, said: "I was appalled to read that this poor man was treated in such a cavalier fashion. I don't understand why he was not passed details of our services. We have never turned any disabled or elderly people away who needed a lift.

"We do our best to make our presence known with posters around the town but health-care agencies are also made aware that we are available if needed."

A spokesperson for West Herts Primary Care Trust confirmed: "Our staff are supposed to pass on details of other agencies able to supply transport if they are not eligible for ambulance transport."

HHH has 70 volunteers providing around 1200 journeys a year. They do not make a charge but passengers are asked to make a donation to cover the cost of petrol.

Anyone requiring help with shopping or hospital visits can contact HHH on 01582 764599. Would-be volunteers can contact Ann on 01582 460507.

A similar scheme also operates in St Albans. The Good Neighbours Scheme can arrange for the elderly, disabled and mothers with children to be transported to hospital, doctors' surgeries, shopping and urgent personal business. A prescription collection service is also available.

Good Neighbours can be contacted between 9am and 4pm all year round on 01727 830713.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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