Insult to injury

SOARING charges of a volunteer transport service to hospital have hit a pensioner hard. Allan Myring, aged 72, of Kempe Close, St Albans, relies on the service to get to hospital after having his knee joint replaced in January. But he has seen the cost of

SOARING charges of a volunteer transport service to hospital have hit a pensioner hard.

Allan Myring, aged 72, of Kempe Close, St Albans, relies on the service to get to hospital after having his knee joint replaced in January.

But he has seen the cost of a two-mile trip to and from St Albans City Hospital increase from £5 to £8.40 after West Herts Hospitals Trust increased the cost of their voluntary transport service.

The service operates by volunteers giving non-emergency patients lifts to hospital and having their fuel costs reimbursed.


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But at the start of the month the trust increased the minimum cost of a journey for patients from £2 to £5. They also raised the pence per mile cost from 45p to 60p to cover the increasing cost of fuel.

Mr Myring gets a free lift on the Patient Transport Service ambulance to see his surgeon at Hemel Hempstead Hospital but he has to use the voluntary transport service to see a physiotherapist at St Albans City Hospital.

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On his first trip after the operation, he was charged £5 for the journey but he has now been told that the cost has been increased to £8.40.

His wife Anne, 69, explained that their car was too small for her husband to fit into because he could not yet bend his leg.

On one occasion she did take him to St Albans Hospital but did not have the strength to get him down a ramp in a wheelchair to the lifts and slipped over.

She added: "I think the increase is too much. My husband has been out of work since he was 57 because of ill health and our pension increase has all been eaten by council rent rises.

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