Although there is a bus service to the hospital it is obviously not ideal for everyone and the issue of getting to the hospital is still a live topic. At the joint meeting of the NHS and Highland Council held in the Courthouse last Friday, a member of the public present Simon Noble agreed to go away and examine aspects of this issue. It obviously makes sense to enable as many patients as possible to get to the hospital for treatment. Here are a few notes from the meeting for anyone with an interest in the matter:
During the 10 minutes allocated to questions from the public, one person in attendance made a comment on transport links to the hospital, he said: “I think the surgery should go some way to try and sort out public transport to the hospital.”
“Unfortunately transport is not within our remit, was the reply from Dr Baker
The individual that indicated that transport had been promised but didn’t materialise
“I don’t provide bus services I’m afraid, I’m a doctor,” said Dr Baker.
Simon Noble then said: “That’s not the first time I’ve heard someone raising it, not specifically in relation to the practice. There are transport issues that keep cropping up and they seem to relate to people that have either got health problems or social care problems and it doesn’t appear that there is a joined up approach to enabling them to access the services, either at the GPs practice, particularly where appointments are offered in Ardersier for Nairn patients or to others. So could it be a action point or an item for the agenda of this group to actually seek information about ways services could actually be joined up. […] because it is too easy for one agency to say well that’s not my job.”
Liz then suggested that Simon take on that as an action point. Although he was only there as a member of the public, Simon agreed to do that.
The meeting then heard of how the Community Car scheme worked successfully in Badenoch and Strathspey to get people to appointments at practices. Liz remarked that that was well funded however. It seemed a shame to this observer that no one then explored how that was “well funded” and whether the same could be achieved here in Nairn.
Roddy Balfour a Councillor representing Ardersier and Croy then spoke. He told the meeting that the problem was not getting people from Ardersier and Croy to Nairn but getting them from the bus station to the hospital. He indicated that he was in consultation with the Nairn Minibus Association to provide possible transport at a time that might be appropriate for patients from these communities.